Backstory: My girlfriend and I have been living in this duplex for less than a year in a two bedroom space with one other tenant. We signed a separate lease from him, which is set to expire on August 1st. He told us he is on a month-to-month lease. Now our landlord is saying that he is going to require everyone in the house (there is a 3 bedroom upstairs as well) to sign a 6-month or 12-month lease starting August 1st.
The other tenant of our unit is a hoarder with an ever worsening condition. His room is more than twice the size of ours but you cannot walk through it without stepping on something. It also reeks of BO and the two cats and the litter boxes (which he rarely cleans) and one of the cats in sick and throws up all the time. He has mold all over his own personal bathroom and window sills. When we come home the house reeks like his room and we have to burn incense and open the windows and sometimes eat outside because of the smell.
I should also mention that the landlord is extremely curt and rude and has asked that I voice my questions and concerns through my housemate (the hoarder) even though we are on separate leases.
Our Intentions: We would like to move out but we also need enough time to look for a new place. We have mentioned the horrendous conditions of the place to the landlord before but he says that it is a personal matter between us and our housemate.
Questions for different approaches to the situation:
1. Assuming that we sign a new 6-month lease on August 1st, a couple of months into the new lease, can we ask our landlord to force our housemate to cleanup his room, which is causing our unit to be uninhabitable outside of our direct control? Furthermore, can we give him an ultimatum stating that if he does not clean up his act or if the landlord cannot remedy the problem that we will move out.
2. Can we wait until August 1st has passed and then we are theoretically, by default, on a month-to-month lease, and then tell our landlord that we will not sign a new lease because we intend to move out thereby we will have been living there for more than one year and he will have to give us 60 days to move out. In other words, up until August 1st we have only lived here less than one year so presumably he would have to give us 60 days notice if we waited for a year to pass. How long can we stall signing a lease?
3. Can our landlord force us to sign a lease? If he delivers a statement into our mailbox that states that we must sign the new lease by August 1st but then we don't see it and August 1st passes, what are the consequences? My research did not turn up anything about what happens at the end of a rental agreement.
4. What is the best way to break out of a 6-month lease if we are forced to sign one in some way or another?
5. If we were to request for the land lord to put us on a month-to-month lease so that we can look for a place and get out as soos as possible, what should we be prepared for. What does the law say about requesting a month-to-month lease? Can the landlord deny this request? If so, can they evict us for refusing their lease agreement or if the want to get rid of us what kind of notice do they have to give and how is this affected by whether we have lived there less than a year or more than a year?
6. What would you do? What are some other ways we could deal with the situation?
7. Our landlord did not do a walkthrough with us when we moved in and our housemate had been living here for over a year already. Can he hold us responsible for any damages (other than those which he knows that we are directly responsible for because he has fixed them upon our request)?