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  1. #1
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    Default Landlord Verbally Agreed to 30 Day Notice, Now Attempting to Renege

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

    I signed a 12 month lease approximately 22 months ago for a townhome in Georgia, beginning June 1, 2015. The Lessor listed on the lease that I signed is not the property owner, but a third party who manages the house rental for the owner. I paid the first month's rent, as well as a security deposit equal to 1 month's rent. The Lessor did not provide me with the location of the escrow account where the security deposit would be held, as required by OCGA 44-7-31(a). Additionally, I was never given a list of existing damage, even though it is required by OCGA 44-7-33.

    The lease had the following clause inserted:

    LESSEE'S HOLD OVER. If Lessee remains in possession of the Premises with the consent of Lessor after the natural expiration of this Agreement, a new tenancy from month-to-month shall be created between Lessor and Lessee which shall be subject to all of the terms and conditions hereof except that rent shall then be due and owing at (same rent as above) per month and except that such tenancy shall be terminable upon sixty (60) days written noticed served by either party.

    After the lease expired, I continued to live in the townhome for 9 months, until February of this year, at which time I began the process of purchasing a house. On March 2nd, I called the Lessor to provide him notice that I would be moving out. To my surprise/delight, the Lessor agreed to a move out/lease termination date of March 31st, which represented 30 days of notice. Relying upon the Lessor's offer, I vacated the premises by March 31st, and cancelled my renter's insurance and utility services at the property. No inspection was performed after the move out, even though it is required by OCGA 44-7-31(b).

    When I reached out to the Lessor today to ask about the status of my security deposit, he informed me that he had spoken with the property owner and had decided that the original lease document said that I would have to provide 60 days notice, so he would keep my security deposit in lieu of a payment for April rent.

    Obviously, this is not what was agreed upon, but I don't know if I have any legal recourse in this situation.

    As best as I can tell, this is not a tenancy-at-will situation (OCGA 44-7-6 and OCGA 44-7-7), which would allow me to give only 30 days of notice.

    However, as I outlined above, the Lessor did fail to follow all of the requirements for inspections and escrow accounts for security deposits, so perhaps that might be the best angle to pursue?

    Any opinions or ideas would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Landlord Verbally Agreed to 30 Day Notice, Now Attempting to Renege

    As best as I can tell, this is not a tenancy-at-will situation (OCGA 44-7-6 and OCGA 44-7-7), which would allow me to give only 30 days of notice.
    Actually, it does appear to be a tenancy at will and OCGA 44-7-7 does allow you to give 30 days notice to terminate a tenancy at will.

    However, whether that applies depends on the terms and conditions of your original lease.

    Apparently, your original lease required 60 days notice.

    The question becomes: What does that lease say happens when then lease expires and the tenant continues to occupy the dwelling?

    Sometimes a lease will say nothing.

    Sometimes a lease will say tenancy continues on a month to month basis.

    Sometimes a lease will say tenancy continues on a month to month basis subject to the SAME TERMS AND CONDITIONS AS THE EXPIRING LEASE.

    Are you seeing the distinction there? Take out your original lease and quote that section word for word.

    However, as I outlined above, the Lessor did fail to follow all of the requirements for inspections and escrow accounts for security deposits, so perhaps that might be the best angle to pursue?
    Maybe, but I wouldn't want to address that until you quote the provisions of your expired lease.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Landlord Verbally Agreed to 30 Day Notice, Now Attempting to Renege

    About all that can happen from the Lessor failing to follow all the requirement for inspections and escrow accounts for security deposits in Georgia is as follows:

    (a) A landlord shall not be entitled to retain any portion of a security deposit if the security deposit was not deposited in an escrow account in accordance with Code Section 44-7-31 or a surety bond was not posted in accordance with Code Section 44-7-32 and if the initial and final damage lists required by Code Section 44-7-33 are not made and provided to the tenant.

    This has nothing to do with whether you are required to provide a 30 or 60 day notice to terminate your tenancy.

    Gail

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Landlord Verbally Agreed to 30 Day Notice, Now Attempting to Renege

    Do you have written confirmation that the landlord accepted and agreed to the thirty days notice?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Landlord Verbally Agreed to 30 Day Notice, Now Attempting to Renege

    I must have had a brain fart. Missed this part of your post.

    LESSEE'S HOLD OVER. If Lessee remains in possession of the Premises with the consent of Lessor after the natural expiration of this Agreement, a new tenancy from month-to-month shall be created between Lessor and Lessee which shall be subject to all of the terms and conditions hereof except that rent shall then be due and owing at (same rent as above) per month and except that such tenancy shall be terminable upon sixty (60) days written noticed served by either party.
    That's what I was referring to.

    You were bound by 60 days notice. You owe him a month's rent.

    He forfeited the deposit.

    How much is the deposit?

    How much is one month's rent?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Landlord Verbally Agreed to 30 Day Notice, Now Attempting to Renege

    If the tenant can prove that the landlord accepted and agreed to thirty days notice, then the tenant can attempt to recover any rent claimed beyond that point by asserting that the 60 day notice provision was waived. The question then becomes, will the landlord admit to having accepted and agreed to thirty days notice (or deny it, or have a different memory such as acknowledging that the tenant said that he would move in thirty days but with no further release) and what the tenant can prove in court.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Landlord Verbally Agreed to 30 Day Notice, Now Attempting to Renege

    Thanks for the responses, all.

    Quote Quoting gail in georgia
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    About all that can happen from the Lessor failing to follow all the requirement for inspections and escrow accounts for security deposits in Georgia is as follows:

    (a) A landlord shall not be entitled to retain any portion of a security deposit if the security deposit was not deposited in an escrow account in accordance with Code Section 44-7-31 or a surety bond was not posted in accordance with Code Section 44-7-32 and if the initial and final damage lists required by Code Section 44-7-33 are not made and provided to the tenant.

    This has nothing to do with whether you are required to provide a 30 or 60 day notice to terminate your tenancy.

    Gail
    Emphasis mine. The landlord is attempting to retain the security deposit, so it seems that this would apply.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    Do you have written confirmation that the landlord accepted and agreed to the thirty days notice?
    I have an email from the landlord acknowledging:

    -That, on March 2nd, he told me 30 days notice was acceptable
    -That, after speaking with the owner of the property and reviewing the lease terms, he changed his mind about 30 days notice being acceptable (he even apologized for reneging on our verbal agreement without informing me)

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    You were bound by 60 days notice. You owe him a month's rent.

    He forfeited the deposit.

    How much is the deposit?

    How much is one month's rent?
    Deposit: $1625. 1 month's rent: $1625.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Landlord Verbally Agreed to 30 Day Notice, Now Attempting to Renege

    If the landlord and tenant can't work things out, the issue goes to court.

    Depending on what happens in court, the court could find that the deposit should be returned but that rent is owed.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Landlord Verbally Agreed to 30 Day Notice, Now Attempting to Renege

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    If the landlord and tenant can't work things out, the issue goes to court.

    Depending on what happens in court, the court could find that the deposit should be returned but that rent is owed.
    I think I ninja edited my post to include more replies after you made this post. I do have written acknowledgement that the landlord accepted 30 days notice. I guess I will have to file in Magistrate Court and see what the outcome ends up being, as the landlord and property owner will not budge. I tried to reason with them - $1625 is much cheaper than legal defense costs, but they seem determined to see this through.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Landlord Verbally Agreed to 30 Day Notice, Now Attempting to Renege

    Quote Quoting GTLaw
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    I think I ninja edited my post to include more replies after you made this post. I do have written acknowledgement that the landlord accepted 30 days notice. I guess I will have to file in Magistrate Court and see what the outcome ends up being, as the landlord and property owner will not budge. I tried to reason with them - $1625 is much cheaper than legal defense costs, but they seem determined to see this through.
    Well, you can sue for 3 times the $1625 under 44-7-35(c):

    http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/...ction-44-7-35/

    He would have to prove excusable error to be limited to forfeiting only the $1625.

    Your emails might be enough to document the waiver of the 60 days notice if the judge accepts your emails as evidence or the LL admits.

    Or, the judge might look at both of you and call it even.

    No way to predict but it's probably worth the money it takes to file and serve the lawsuit. Keep in mind that you have to name both the owner and his agent in case they point fingers at each other.

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