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Unread 12-29-2011, 01:43 PM
 
4 posts, read 16,231 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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Unread 12-29-2011, 02:02 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
19,152 posts, read 20,076,102 times
Reputation: 19726
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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Unread 12-29-2011, 02:40 PM
 
14,437 posts, read 17,699,088 times
Reputation: 5812
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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Unread 12-29-2011, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
13,787 posts, read 16,858,833 times
Reputation: 5963
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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Unread 01-02-2012, 05:17 PM
 
101 posts, read 99,059 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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Unread 01-02-2012, 05:37 PM
 
101 posts, read 99,059 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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