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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Landlady Changes Terms After We Move in

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Georgia

    I was referred to this forum from an entry I posted in a livejournal community.
    The entry is here -

    "Well, when we were trying to see about renting the place out, the landlady told us that there was a woman already trying to get it for her father. She said that she hadn't heard anything back from them for quite a while, so she'd give them a time limit and if they didn't get it before then, we could have it.

    So we're waiting around forever for her to tell us either way. Rent on the apartment is fast approaching, so I'm getting a little stressed (didn't want to pay for another month's rent if we're going to move). Finally, the landlady calls and says we can have the house. So we're excited and start getting boxes to pack our things in.

    The next night, she calls back and tells us she wants to give the other lady until the end of the week so get the house, and THEN if she doesn't want it, we can have the place. WTF. The end of the week... our rent would be overdue (meaning a hefty late fee if we didn't get it). So I'm stressing out. We can have it, we can't have it? Wth.

    End of the week- no phone call. We try to call her with no answer. Finally, Sunday she calls us and says we can have it again. I'm so stressed, I can't even get excited. She tells us that because of the run-around, a deposit won't be necessary and we can just move on in.

    So we're moved in for a month. Rent is due and we've got the money order made out, we're just waiting for her to send us the lease to be signed and returned (which I feel she should have sent out WAY earlier). We get the lease and it has all these deposit fees on it. Well, we figure she just had to put them on there as a standard practice or something, idk. The lady at the apartment still put the pet deposit on our file as paid, even though she waived the fee, so I thought it might be like this.

    Then she calls asking if we'd sent everything back off. We say we're about to put it in the mailbox now. Then she asks us if we paid the full amount on the lease... the $400 worth of deposit fees tacked on. There was a fee for a key deposit and a reg deposit, and she tells us that she has no recollection of telling us there would be no deposit. So now we're supposed to be sending her almost double our money order. wtf. My fiance told her that we weren't prepared to pay any deposits, but if it was necessary, they would have to be paid at a later date because we were told there wouldn't be any. She says she'll send out a new ammended lease.

    New lease comes in yesterday. With the rent amount and $700 worth of tacked on deposit fees! WTF!!! Each time she sends us one, she adds more to it! The only thing she took off was $100 off the key deposit. This time there was a pet deposit fee, key deposit, reg deposit, and she added on another deposit for something (I forget what it was). Altogether, she wants us to come up with nearly 3 months rent with this short of notice. We can't get her on the phone and we DO NOT have that kind of money. WILL NOT have that kind of money. I'm on maternity leave so his income is all we've got and we're just scraping by!

    I feel like if she wanted to add deposits, she should have made an attempt to contact us before we moved in and discussed them with us. Now we have nowhere else to go, a baby that could come any week now, and we're stuck!

    This is our first go-round at renting a private home, so maybe we could have done things differently to protect ourselves, I don't know. This house is nice, but I would have been equally happy in a 2 bedroom apartment where the rent would be a little higher, but our required fees and such would be layed out in front of us beforehand. What have we gotten ourselves into?"

    Basically, we've already taken possession of the property over a month ago. We were told to go ahead and move in, with the only mention of a deposit being that there wasn't to be one. I feel that if she required any sort of deposit, she should have made an attempt to contact us BEFORE she told us we could move in and discussed these fees with us.

    She says she is new to renting and obviously she has no idea what she is doing. And with her being so hard to keep in contact with, what are we supposed to do?

    No leases have been signed, no money has been sent.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Toledo, OH

    Default Re: Landlady Changes Terms After We Move in

    You're actually pretty lucky, in that you have not signed a lease locking you into a long term rental relationship with this person.

    Since you've not signed the lease, but have taken possession, you've created a tenancy at will. This means that you've agreed to month to month rental terms that can be terminated by either party with 30 days written notice.

    Do not sign the lease, do not pay the additional deposits.

    On September 1st, pay September's rent and serve her with a 30 day notice that you intend to vacate the premises by September 30th. Then do so. Go somewhere where you're given the lease to look over and sign BEFORE you move in. Yes, I understand that you're pregnant and about to pop Real Soon Now. It's OK. It's annoying and stressful (I've done it twice, I know.), but you can do it, and it will be better for you.

    Before moving out, make sure you take pictures of everything, and clean that place to sparkling. Document, document, document, so you have evidence if she tries to claim damages.

    It goes without saying that you should not have moved in without having the lease in hand, signed and settled, but you can chalk that up to a lesson learned. This really could have been so much worse for you - had you signed the lease, you might have been stuck in a year-long nightmare with a landlord just making up charges as she goes.

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