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Old 11-05-2012, 01:12 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,614 times
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My fiance and I are currently renting a home. The landlord lives out of town and when they came to my house in order for us to sign the lease renewal my finance was at work and with my fiance's permission i signed the lease on his behalf. This took place in April. The landord states now(November) that the lease is not valid because I signed on my fiances behalf. Now they want us to sign a month to month because he wants to put the house up for sale. Is the lease we signed in April not valid?
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:14 PM
 
26,582 posts, read 50,134,130 times
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If you had a valid power of attorney it was valid, otherwise it might not be. However if your signature is also on it (as you) I believe that it would be difficult for them to claim it's not valid. I'd spend $100 to sit down with a lawyer for half an hour to find out what your rights are.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:33 PM
 
1,395 posts, read 1,920,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tygoody View Post
My fiance and I are currently renting a home. The landlord lives out of town and when they came to my house in order for us to sign the lease renewal my finance was at work and with my fiance's permission i signed the lease on his behalf. This took place in April. The landord states now(November) that the lease is not valid because I signed on my fiances behalf. Now they want us to sign a month to month because he wants to put the house up for sale. Is the lease we signed in April not valid?
The lease is valid....the landord knows that, which is why he's trying to get you to sign a new lease. DON'T DO IT! The landlord has been collecting your rent since April and has not rejected the lease, which means he accepted your signature and the lease as it was executed. The lease is binding to both of you. Tell your landlord that you're not signing another lease and to have you evicted if he thinks the lease is not binding. Guarantee you that he won't even start eviction proceedings. Don't let him bully you. Keep paying the rent and don't sign the month-to-month lease.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:39 PM
 
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My signature is on the lease as well. I have not signed the month to month lease and made him aware we wouldnt make any decisions until we found out our rights.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:44 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 35,787,569 times
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By default with no lease (or lease extension) you revert to a month to month. So that being said, if your LL was correct that the lease was not valid it seems to me that he wouldn't need you to sign a month to month.

The fact that he wants you to sign a new month to month makes me think he knows the other lease is valid.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Central New Jersey
1,289 posts, read 5,267,622 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manderly6 View Post
By default with no lease (or lease extension) you revert to a month to month. So that being said, if your LL was correct that the lease was not valid it seems to me that he wouldn't need you to sign a month to month.

The fact that he wants you to sign a new month to month makes me think he knows the other lease is valid.
If you signed the lease on behalf of someone without a power of attorney it reverts to a month to month lease and the signed lease agreement becomes invalid. Even though the landlord is acting like he knows the other lease is indeed valid, and he wants you to sign another lease, this point is actually irrevelant in a court of law as they will state that you are on a month to month because the main fact is the lease in question is still not valid. Personally I would suggest not signing the new lease and do one of two things, tell the landlord he is to adhere to original lease and get both parties to sign or tell him you will continue on the month to month without signing. With a month to month, your landlord cannot arbitrarily evict you, and must provide you with at least 30 days notice that he wishes you to vacate the property. Chances are either way he will not want you to move out because that means he will have a vacant property while on the market which will cost him a great deal of money in lost rent revenues. I wish you the best of luck!
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:53 PM
 
14,724 posts, read 32,069,960 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DodgeViper01 View Post
If you signed the lease on behalf of someone without a power of attorney it reverts to a month to month lease and the signed lease agreement becomes invalid. Even though the landlord is acting like he knows the other lease is indeed valid, and he wants you to sign another lease, this point is actually irrevelant in a court of law as they will state that you are on a month to month because the main fact is the lease in question is still not valid. Personally I would suggest not signing the new lease and do one of two things, tell the landlord he is to adhere to original lease and get both parties to sign or tell him you will continue on the month to month without signing. With a month to month, your landlord cannot arbitrarily evict you, and must provide you with at least 30 days notice that he wishes you to vacate the property. Chances are either way he will not want you to move out because that means he will have a vacant property while on the market which will cost him a great deal of money in lost rent revenues. I wish you the best of luck!
This is correct. By law the lease is invalid if there are not original signatures of all parties on the lease. If any of the parties original signatures are missing, the lease is considered invalid and would resort to a month-to-month situation. Absent a power of attorney that authorized the OP to sign for the fiancee the current lease is invalid. The catch of course is that the landlord would need to prove in court that the signature wasn't valid in order to remove you from the property. Going to court is a time consuming proposition and since the courts tend to strongly favor tenants, probably isn't something the landlord wants to do, hence why he wants you to sign a new official month-to-month lease and avoid the headache.

The reason he needs you to go month-to-month and make it official is, if he is putting the property up for sale, it is a big detractor to a buyer looking to actually live in the house to have to deal with a tenant on an existing lease since they must honor the agreement in place. He would need to disclose the lease to any buyer, so he wants the new one to show that the tenancy is month-to-month meaning the property is able to be moved into at closing. The landlord doesn't want to have to disclose the current lease which doesn't expire until April (?) of next year and he definitely doesn't want to have tell anyone that it's technically an invalid lease.

So, what are your options?

1. Refuse to sign the new lease and continue to abide by the terms of the existing lease (making all payments on time) and force the landlord to take you to court to get it straightened out. Technically the law is not on your side, but I have seen strange things happen in NJ courts that generally favor tenants. I would not be shocked if a judge ordered a new lease be made official, but then made the landlord abide by the remaining term of the original lease as it was signed "in good faith" for that time period. The worst that happens here is that you lose and are made to go month-to-month. Taking this direction also buys you some extra time as you would probably get at least 60 days, maybe more, before the actual hearing.

2. Try to work with the landlord to give you some amount of longer guaranteed time on the new lease before it goes month-to-month. Being realistic chances are the property isn't going to sell that fast and with the holidays fast approaching no one wants to settle between Christmas and New Years. At this point, the soonest the property could sell and settle would be the end of January. Taking that into account have him give a 3 month term guaranteed that would take you to the end of January or February and then switch to a month-to-month. If his main hangup is related to selling with an existing long term lease this should satisfy his need while giving you some amount of security through the holidays and time to find a new place.

3. If you are able to take the risk, agree to go month-to-month, but in exchange for a reduction in rent and/or a reduced/refunded security deposit. How much of a deduction to ask for is up to you, but 10%-20% is probably a good starting place. If you paid 1.5 months security ask for the half month back when the new lease is signed. If you only paid a month, ask for half of it back, or the amount that reflects the reduction in the rent. Basically he wants to negotiate and he needs you on that month-to-month and doesn't want to go to court over it, so let him negotiate you agreeing to it. The issue here is that he could simply turn around and then give you 30 days notice.

If this was me, I would go with option two if possible for you to do and maybe toss in a little of option three as well (maybe just asking for some of the security deposit back). This gives you a little extra secured time, gives him what he needs and keeps the relationship cordial.

If there is no way you can tolerate the risk of being month-to-month right now, then don't sign anything and make him take you to court. Chances are you will lose, but you might be surprised. I won't tell you to NOT get an attorney as this is a pretty open and shut matter, but it certainly couldn't hurt. The only way it would really pay off is if you absolutely need to maximize your chances of being able to stay for the full term.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:03 PM
 
8,815 posts, read 12,307,752 times
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The lease may very well be valid. You'd need an attorney to tell you for sure. Don't sign anything new without an attorney's advice.

The NJ Statute of Frauds states that a lease is not enforcable against someone unless signed by them or their authorized agent. It doesn't say you need a formal power of attorney to be an authorized agent. Nor does it say the contract can't be enforced BY the party who didn't sign it.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:26 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 35,787,569 times
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I will add that personally I would start looking for a new place. You know sooner or later you are going to be out of there. I rather look now while you have some time (until this gets settled) to look.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Bergen County, Nazi Jerky
367 posts, read 736,894 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tygoody View Post

and with my fiance's permission I signed the lease on his behalf.
Verbal power of attorney. Your lying landleach now wants to sell and is trying to buffalo you into moving at his convenience thus making the house more marketable. See how fast he would change his tune if the house wasn't for sale and you wanted out of the lease on the same pretext.
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