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Unread 12-20-2011, 09:49 AM
 
9 posts, read 8,833 times
Reputation: 10
Exclamation Prepaid rent on a still active lease, wondering if I have any legal claim to refund

This was my first time renting an apartment. I moved in with three other guys who I didn't know too well. I paid all of my rent for my 12 month lease up front so I wouldn't have to think about it, then realized that I couldn't trust my room mates to do the same.

I explained the situation to my rental company, but they refuse to return the rent.

I read that CA law does not distinguish between prepaid rent and a security deposit, and that for an unfurnished apartment the maximum allowable deposit is two months rent. The current amount my landlord is holding exceeds two months rent.

Do I have any legal recourse, or does my voluntary payment and lease nullify any claim I have to a refund?
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Unread 12-20-2011, 09:58 AM
 
3,561 posts, read 3,645,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colorblindzebra View Post
This was my first time renting an apartment. I moved in with three other guys who I didn't know too well. I paid all of my rent for my 12 month lease up front so I wouldn't have to think about it, then realized that I couldn't trust my room mates to do the same.

I explained the situation to my rental company, but they refuse to return the rent.

I read that CA law does not distinguish between prepaid rent and a security deposit, and that for an unfurnished apartment the maximum allowable deposit is two months rent. The current amount my landlord is holding exceeds two months rent.

Do I have any legal recourse, or does my voluntary payment and lease nullify any claim I have to a refund?
No your lease cannot overide state law. Though I'm not too familiar that CA law forbids prepaid rent.
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Unread 12-20-2011, 10:34 AM
 
9 posts, read 8,833 times
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My rental agency says that since I voluntarily prepaid the rent, they have no obligation to give it back. Does this play into it at all?

I should make clear that my lease also goes all the way to June, so the excess on the account will eventually be due. The rental agency made this point to me when they said they had no obligation to refund me the rent.
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Unread 12-20-2011, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Phoenix AZ
2,848 posts, read 2,919,941 times
Reputation: 2952
Quote:
Originally Posted by colorblindzebra View Post
My rental agency says that since I voluntarily prepaid the rent, they have no obligation to give it back. Does this play into it at all?

I should make clear that my lease also goes all the way to June, so the excess on the account will eventually be due. The rental agency made this point to me when they said they had no obligation to refund me the rent.

You would need to carefully read California's law. In AZ, the maximum deposit a LL can require is 1.5 months rent, but if the tenant offers, the landlord can accept anything -even a full year's rent.

The bad thing in your case might be if the other roomies don't pay, you could still get hit up for a deficiency, depending on the wording of your lease.
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Unread 12-20-2011, 11:02 AM
 
2,091 posts, read 1,726,526 times
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Are you saying that your roommates have not paid the rent, and that you are leaving, or something, early? Not enough info. But still, if all roommates are on the lease, all are equally responsible for it. If your RM's aren't paying, then you are liable for it. Lesson not to pay rent in advance. Not sure if your landlords should have taken that much in advance either.
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Unread 12-20-2011, 11:14 AM
 
4,919 posts, read 8,462,870 times
Reputation: 5634
There is one exception where the LL can collect advance rent and legally refuse to return it if it was a CONDITION of renting (you and the roomates could not qualify on their own and as a condition of renting, you agreed to prepay X months rent in advance). In that case, the LL can retain the advance payments.

But as mentioned, there' some big questions that needs to be answered.
1. Are you all indiviudal renters who pay their rent seperetely to the LL or is it all of you on the lease and you split the rent?
2. If you are not seperate tenants with each your own lease, are you (as in all of you) current in the rent payments?
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Unread 12-20-2011, 11:35 AM
 
9 posts, read 8,833 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
There is one exception where the LL can collect advance rent and legally refuse to return it if it was a CONDITION of renting (you and the roomates could not qualify on their own and as a condition of renting, you agreed to prepay X months rent in advance). In that case, the LL can retain the advance payments.

But as mentioned, there' some big questions that needs to be answered.
1. Are you all indiviudal renters who pay their rent seperetely to the LL or is it all of you on the lease and you split the rent?
2. If you are not seperate tenants with each your own lease, are you (as in all of you) current in the rent payments?
1. We are all on the same lease and pay rent collectively. This is why prepaying my rent was such a huge mistake.

2. My roommates have been using the money that is credited to the account and not paying rent consistently. Currently all rent is up to date for all parties, but this was after I confronted my roommates.

I chose freely to pay the rent in advance, but am requesting it back. So the rental agency never demanded payment, but they are refusing to return it.
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Unread 12-20-2011, 11:39 AM
 
4,919 posts, read 8,462,870 times
Reputation: 5634
If its a single lease with all of you as tenants, as far as the LL is concerned its all of your money. All of you will need to request the refund. But I;m still a bit confused, do each of you pay the rent directly to the LL or does one person collect it and pay it to the LL?
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Unread 12-20-2011, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI
3,591 posts, read 4,372,713 times
Reputation: 2519
You will very probably not be able to get it back. I suggest you and your room mates sit down every month for a talk on paying the rent. Anyone who isn't paying on time needs to be dealt with right away. You need to get very proactive in this situation and don't ever do this again with room mates involved!
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Unread 12-20-2011, 12:18 PM
 
9 posts, read 8,833 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
If its a single lease with all of you as tenants, as far as the LL is concerned its all of your money. All of you will need to request the refund. But I;m still a bit confused, do each of you pay the rent directly to the LL or does one person collect it and pay it to the LL?
We all pay individually, but under the lease it is collective. My roommates refuse to meet or discuss things like this. I assumed it was a lost cause, I just wanted to be sure.

Lesson learned!
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