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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Automatic Renewal Without Notice

    We live in Virginia. We signed a one year lease. Apparently hidden in the 10 pages of our lease agreement it stated that 90 days before our lease was up it would be automatically renewed with a 5% increase in rent unless we contacted the management company. So now we are stuck in another year long lease. Is this legal? Dont they have to notify us? Help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    578

    Default Re: Automatic Renewal Without Notice

    I AM NOT A LAWYER OR JUDGE - in other words, this is just my opinion, get a lawyer if you need one.

    It's a contested area of the law
    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/ju...can_be_costly/
    http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8320
    http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resou...alvacancy.html

    Here's my argument(again, not specific legal advice) as to why this clause should be judged unconscionable, unenforcable, and voidable by any ethical jurist.

    The original lease provision provides for silent acceptance of a lease renewal. Even though silent acceptance may be agreed upon in a prior writing as a method of contract acceptance in certain commercial transactions, in residential real estate conveyances of this type, I think it perverts the intent of UCC, state real estate, and other laws. While the landlord may argue that the silent acceptance is agreed upon beforehand, it creates a situation in which a leasehold that did not exist, is created by a fineprint clause, without any further affirmative action required to accept by the tenant. [Some states accept these clauses, some don't - I think silent acceptance lease renewals regarding real estate should be prohibited by federal law under UCC to end all the abuse.]

    The negative consequences to the consumer/tenant are disproportionate to any slight savings or inconvenience to the landlord. The landlord saves a few pieces of paper and postage and minimal time in a transaction that represents thousands of dollars and may create a huge windfall profit. The consumer, comparitively, may also save a little time and postage, but gains no benefit that he wouldn't still have if a written renewal/contract not relying on silent acceptance were offered, and may suffer a large, completely unintended detriment, simply by inaction.

    It's absurd to expect tenants to remember, after reading and signing a 10 page lease, to remember the clause and a specific date in the future at which they must then take a conscious affirmative action to NOT ACCEPT a offer that creates a new lease/renewal, especially without a reminder notice.

    I'd argue that such a clause represents a contract of adhesion, one where the bargaining power of the landlord is highly disproportionate to that of the tenant, and that any such clause is unconscionable.

    Some may argue that in some jurisdictions, where there's no specific prohibition by either statute or case law, such contracts are legal and enforceable. Only a court can decide. In the states that have regulations regarding these renewal clauses, generally the landlord must send the tenant a reminder notice either personally or by certified mail for the clause to be enforceable. I don't know VA law on this, but I'd fight it if I were a tenant.

    U.S. 2A-108. UCC - UNCONSCIONABILITY

    VA 8.2A-108. Unconscionability.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Automatic Renewal Without Notice

    Thanks for the information. I guess I was hoping that they were not allowed to increase the rent without notification. I think automatic renewals are a sleazy way to trap people. Yes, I should be more careful about what I sign. I did read my whole lease, all 10 pages when we signed it but I simply missed the "90 days prior to the lease ending" part. We called to talk about our lease a month before it was up and were notified that it had already been renewed with an increase. Now we are moving to a new city for jobs and are stuck trying to break this lease and are having to pay a huge penalty to break a lease we never wanted to be in. I dont think we have the resources or time to take them to court and since its managed by a property management group I am sure they do have the money and time to fight this. Any chance a threat of going to court might work? Does anyone know anything specific to Virginia law on this topic? Thanks.

  4. #4
    panther10758 Guest

    Default Re: Automatic Renewal Without Notice

    They did notify you of increase. You said so yourself It in lease

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Automatic Renewal Without Notice

    I realize this response is a little late, but in case anyone was still wondering:

    With or without notice, a lease with a fixed term (i.e. any lease with a specified end date) cannot require a tenant to provide notice of plans to vacate, and if it does, that clause is unenforceable.

    See: Sweeney v. West Group, Inc., 259 Va. 776 (2000)(citing Va. Code Sec. 55-222).

    These clauses truly are sleazy and my wife and I are dealing with one right now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Automatic Renewal Without Notice

    I am going through the same thing, failed to give notice of intent to vacate. My rental company is now claiming I am responsible beyond my lease. I have already read the Sweeney v. West Group case, and the only question I have is, am I on a fixed term lease or a year to year tenancy (or even month to month)?
    If this is indeed a fixed term, I believe I'm in good shape.

    The lease term is defined in paragraph 2 of my lease agreement and says the following:

    2. LEASE TERM. The Term ("Lease Term") will begin at noon on October 10, 2008 and end at 5pm on September 30, 2009. Should Tenant fail to vacate as scheduled, the per diem rate will double.

    This Lease Term <> shall OR <xx> shall not be extended automatically from month to month upon the same terms and conditions as set forth in this Lease. Notwithstanding the foregoing, prior to the expiration of the initial Lease Term or expiration of any extended Term, either of the parties may give the other at least 60 days written Notice of intention not to extend this Lease. If this Lease is extended, 60 days prior written Notice by either party shall be required to terminate this Lease. This Notice to terminate the Lease shall be received no later than the first day of the month and the tenancy shall terminate on the last day of the month.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cinnaminson, New Jersey, United States
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: Automatic Renewal Without Notice

    Yes, it is a little after the fact, but sometimes people searching for help in the future will look to older posts...

    tonsit would have been considered on a month to month tenancy but still needed to give the 60 days notice before the 1st of the month... so if it were April 2, you would need to give 60 days notice to be able to move out before July 1. Partial months on your rental lease agreement don't count in giving your 60 day notice according to what you wrote in your post.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Automatic Renewal Without Notice

    I understand it's been a year since the last post...but I'm dealing with the exact same problem right now. landlord says I have to pay more rent on account of not giving 60 days notice. Just wondering, how did you resolve your case?

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