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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1

    Default Landlord Forcing Me to Stay One More Year

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

    I had a one-year lease with my landlord in Austin(Aug 2010 - Jul
    2011), with a 60-day termination notice. I was out of country from mid
    May - early August. The lease was silent about renewal terms. The
    landlord knew that I was out of country(likely in May, for sure by mid
    June).

    I received a reminder phone call from my landlord on July 30, saying
    i) my lease is about to expire, ii) she put the rent increase
    notification on the door late May(when I was not living there) but did
    not hear from me at all, iii) the lease is automatically converted to
    month-to-month at $950(last year's monthly rent was $795) unless I
    sign another annual lease with them, which makes the monthly rent $850
    (still higher than the previous year's monthly rent). She said
    month-to-month rent is much higher because they want to force people
    to sign annual lease. She said that I can sign the annual lease
    agreement when I come back to Austin.

    I mailed a check for $850 right away, because I was out of country and
    I was on such short notice to make a decision. She received it on
    August 1st.

    On August 3rd, I was able to find another property that is much
    cheaper than their property(~$600). Because I have not officially
    signed the renewal contract, I thought I would pay $100 more, also the
    late fees regarding the delay of $100, to keep my lease as month to
    month so that I can move out after giving them a 30-day notice. I sent
    the checks and written notice by mail, on August 4th.

    Today(8/8) I received a letter from them saying that my check for $850
    essentially is an "acceptance" of the yearly lease and now I am bound
    to a one-year lease. They said my additional pay doesn't count.


    Am I bound to a one-year lease, merely with that one check? I didn't
    say anything on the check that I am entering a one-year lease. Or am I
    entitled to consider this as month-to-month because I have not signed
    a lease contract for the one-year lease? I thought that typically
    lease that is one year or longer requires a signed written contract.
    Does the $850 check count as a "signed written contract" for one-year
    lease?

    I would appreciate your advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,273

    Default Re: Landlord Forcing Me to Stay One More Year

    if you did not sign the lease then you have no lease .. the funds you sent??? sounds like monthly payment ... you can always ask for the lease and ask for changes to it where they will object & then there is no lease then too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Landlord Forcing Me to Stay One More Year

    If you have it in writing from your landlord that your lease would automatically convert to a month-to-month lease at the end of the initial term, then you can defend against the present claim that it was renewed for a year by pointing out that the landlord declined in writing to renew for a full year and instead allowed only for a month-to-month at-will extension.

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