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Old 12-29-2011, 01:43 PM
 
4 posts, read 18,528 times
Reputation: 13
Default Breaking a Lease in PA

I moved into an apartment and dumbly signed a lease before I even saw the apartment. The landlords said I would be able to see it before I moved in, but I was then not able to see any of it until the day I was set to move in. The size is ridiculous for the amount of money I'm paying and I was definitely taken advantage of. Lesson definitely learned, however, I'm desperate to get out! Against everyone's advice, I paid 6 months rent up front so now my monthly rent is half of what it would have been. I desperately want to get out of my lease and I read that the penalty for breaking a lease is a maximum of two months' rent in PA, which is completely worth it for me, but in my lease (PA plain language apartment lease) it says the "rent and added rent for the unexpired term becomes due and payable at once" - the info seems to contradict each other. I doubt my reasons for wanting to leave are legally valid, but I need help specifically for PA. My roommate is the landlord's son who has his own lease - my utilities are included in my rent, but the electric and cable bill come to the apartment in my roommate's name. He repeatedly turns the heat off/down even though it's freezing, the landlords take advantage that their son lives there (they entered my room without giving me notice while they were visiting him a few weeks ago), etc. The whole experience has been extremely unpleasant, and I just want to be done with it and move on - as of January, I'll have 6 months left in my lease and with the way the math works out, if I were to leave in February they would still have 2 full months rent from what I prepaid - I need options, please! Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:02 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
20,524 posts, read 22,551,554 times
Reputation: 21390
You really couldn't have done much more bass ackwards if you wrote out a plan! Your lease can't supersede state law. Presumably you've googled "PA landlord tenant laws" if they're not listed in the first sticky at the top of this page. When such cases go to court the LL has to prove that he attempted to mitigate his damages and find a suitable replacement tenant.

There's really nothing much you can do about the roommate turning down the heat other than (obviously) readjusting the thermostat yourself. And you really can't make a big fuss about the LLs entering your room while visiting their son. It's not pleasant but it's not a huge crisis.

Have you actually talked to the landlords and to your roommate about the problems? If you haven't, I suggest you do so and see if you can't resolve the immediate problems which seem to be primarily lack of comfortable heat and expectation of privacy. You might be surprised at what good results a simple conversation can bring about instead of rushing into the worst case scenario ...
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:40 PM
 
15,048 posts, read 18,928,714 times
Reputation: 6170
The only one to blame is you....but by now you have figured that one out.

To cut oyur loses you have to do the math and decide what is best for you. I hope you learned your lesson because many tenants never learn other than blaming someone else...
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,067 posts, read 18,433,190 times
Reputation: 6178
The PA Landlord Tenant Act is the most bizarre and incomplete law that I have read so far. Most of it sounds like "old english". http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/uploa...tenant_act.pdf

However, Consumers: Protecting Consumers - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General says this:

Quote:
If you have a problem or a dispute with a landlord or any other business, you can call the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555, or you can also file an online complaint.
Call them and see what they say.

Here are some more resources for assistance. http://tenant.net/Other_Areas/Penn/harris/pawhere.html

This handbook might help. http://tenant.net/Other_Areas/Penn/harris/pa-toc.html

The handbook says:
Quote:
The landlord is permitted to enter the premises at reasonable times (normally daylight hours) for the purpose of inspection or to make repairs and should first notify the tenant.
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:17 PM
 
101 posts, read 115,679 times
Reputation: 78
Unfortunately, Pa Landlord/Tenant Laws are not very specific at spelling out who bears responsibility for Mitigating Losses.

However, that doesn't mean the landlord shouldn't try to find a tenant to replace you or be open to accepting someone that you find to replace you. In fact its probably in his best interest to do so. The reason why is because just because you move out with 6 months left on the lease, and the landlord takes you court doesn't mean the Judge will automatically award him 6 months of rent from you. More than likely he would only get a few months worth of rent. Then a few months later, he would have to then come back into court and file another claim against you as the months accrue for the remaining unpaid rent.

The only way he can get all of the remaining 6 months of rent all at once is if he has what is called an Acceleration clause (google it) in his lease stating, should you Break the Lease all of the money for the term/year would be due and payable at once. The question is would it really be in his best interest to let the property sit vacant for six months and then have to waste time and money suing you when he could have the property rerented out almost immediately? Only the landlord can answer that.

It sounds to me, that he already has at least thought about it and that may be why he has some kind of penalty clause in his leases that state you must pay back any discounts given as well as a 2 months lease break fee. It doesn't sound like there are any issues with the apartment itself or that the Landlord is breaching the Lease therefore you are breaking your lease without cause.
I know its your decision but If there is only 6 months to go you might want to think about hanging in there. Or if you are really unhappy and are going to leave no matter what, I would try to work out something thats a win win for everyone. Perhaps you could offer to pay one month penalty and in addition to advertise for the landlord to help find a new tenant to replace you prior to moving out so that the landlord loses no money. If you approach the landlord making it look advantageous for him then he might be open to it. You wont know unless you ask. Good Luck

Last edited by classiladybarb; 01-02-2012 at 05:26 PM..
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:37 PM
 
101 posts, read 115,679 times
Reputation: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by CptnRn View Post
The PA Landlord Tenant Act is the most bizarre and incomplete law that I have read so far. Most of it sounds like "old english". http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/uploa...tenant_act.pdf

However, Consumers: Protecting Consumers - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General says this:

Call them and see what they say.

Here are some more resources for assistance. TENANT-LANDLORD HANDBOOK

This handbook might help. TENANT-LANDLORD HANDBOOK

The handbook says:
I agree about the Pa Landlord Tenant Act.. It almost makes me not want to ever sign another lease in Pa. lol As for contacting the Attorney General they are good with some things but don't like to get involved with landlord/ tenant unless the landlord is a blatant slumlord and some state laws are being violated. Otherwise, They will probably advise you to take the landlord to small claims.

However if your landlord happens to be a Real Estate Agent you can report them to the National Association of Realtors.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:38 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,039 times
Reputation: 10
HI I am the tenant.
This is my case facts. I live in this apartment since last year. This June, it will be one year. My lease end on June 30th 2014. I want to move out of this apartment, however My landlord says I can not move out because she already renew my lease for another 1 year. According to her, they send me notice in Feb 2013 asking me if I want to live here longer. However, I never got that letter. Even I spoke with the landlord lady how I am not going to live in this apartment longer few times when I went to her office for electric issue. She even showed my apartment to other future rental who wanted hardwood floor. Two weeks ago, she sent me text message to come down and sign for Not living in this apartment further. I went and sign my part. This week when my roommate went to sign, she said she already has renew our lease. The problem here is that they have 12 units empty and she is not finding anyone to rent these units. Now she is forcing me to live in this apartment. I said I will give her my security deposit and leave this apartment. However, she is not ready to listen to me and not giving any other option. Please let me know what should I do. She told me to find someone who can rent my house, but I don't think so it is my job. Please advice me on this. Thank you
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Old 05-26-2014, 12:59 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
20,524 posts, read 22,551,554 times
Reputation: 21390
Quote:
Originally Posted by samseemi3868 View Post
HI I am the tenant.
This is my case facts. I live in this apartment since last year. This June, it will be one year. My lease end on June 30th 2014. I want to move out of this apartment, however My landlord says I can not move out because she already renew my lease for another 1 year. According to her, they send me notice in Feb 2013 asking me if I want to live here longer. However, I never got that letter. Even I spoke with the landlord lady how I am not going to live in this apartment longer few times when I went to her office for electric issue. She even showed my apartment to other future rental who wanted hardwood floor. Two weeks ago, she sent me text message to come down and sign for Not living in this apartment further. I went and sign my part. This week when my roommate went to sign, she said she already has renew our lease. The problem here is that they have 12 units empty and she is not finding anyone to rent these units. Now she is forcing me to live in this apartment. I said I will give her my security deposit and leave this apartment. However, she is not ready to listen to me and not giving any other option. Please let me know what should I do. She told me to find someone who can rent my house, but I don't think so it is my job. Please advice me on this. Thank you
Since you specifically signed something indicating that you were NOT renewing your lease (presumably you were given a copy?) this alleged renewal is invalid. You cannot be forced to continue living there. And why on earth would you offer the LL your security deposit? That's not even legal.

Write her a brief letter telling her that you specifically signed that you were NOT renewing the lease and that you will be vacating the unit by June 30th and will expect the return of your security deposit as mandated by state law.

If you're confused you may want to check with legal aid in your area. Carefully read your lease, too, and see what it says specifically about what happens when your lease ends - notice to be given, etc.
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:23 AM
 
1 posts, read 777 times
Reputation: 12
Default Help!

So I signed a lease agreement with one other individual in February of this year (in Pennsylvania). Upon having a great job opportunity I was hoping to sub-let my share of the leasing agreement to another individual so that I had the ability to relocate to a different area. After quitting my current job and accepting my next job, my roommate then decided he didn't want to live with a "random person". Although I was more than willing to find a suitable roommate, he continued to make my life a living hell by not permitting it. My landlord claimed that because we signed the same agreement, we were considered one entity. I am also unable to break my lease with out my roommate's consent, according to him. While all of this occurring, my roommate broke our leasing agreement by having one of his buddies move in. I gave no written consent however was cooperative in the action of helping one of his friends out. Our lease clearly states that no more than 2 individuals can live in our apartment. I find myself in a position where I can neither break my lease or sub-let with out my roommates permission; its a shame it has come to this however I would love any suggestion on input as to what possible options I might have to make this work.
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:35 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
20,524 posts, read 22,551,554 times
Reputation: 21390
Does your present lease allow tenants to sublet? Does your present roommate have a sublease agreement with this friend who moved in and is it an approved sublease? Does your landlord know that your roommate has allowed someone else to move into the apartment? If your roommate has already found someone to take your place, why would he not agree to having you removed from the lease and have his friend enter into a sublease with him (if the LL agrees) or go through the process and become a full lessee?

Right now you remain on the hook for the lease. You need to sit down with this roommate and get this squared away and let him know that if he doesn't cooperate you'll (a) advise the LL that there's now a third occupant in the place and (b) will seek legal advice. Then do it. Good luck.
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