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Old 06-07-2017, 12:04 PM
 
3 posts, read 937 times
Reputation: 10

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So I've read a lot of articles talking about breaking a lease. I am just leaving just to get a new job. Nothing special, so I don't fall into the categories where personnel don't have to pay any extra after putting in the notice. I saw articles saying that if the apartment gets rented out immediately that I shouldn't have to pay either. My apartment complex already has a tenant lined up to move in right after I leave and they are paying quite a bit more. They are charging me 2 months rent still plus damages. Is this legal? I've went through my contract and there is nothing in my contract talking about early termination.


Also for carpet repairs, can they charge me for replacement before they even have a quote? They told me if I left before I paid for repairs that I would go to collections. Don't they owe me a bill first? And for carpet repairs can they charge me for the full amount of replacement if the previous company shredded all their carpet documents. They have no real proof of the age of the carpet.


Sorry this is so long winded, but they are trying to take over 4200 dollars from me and I'm in the process of buying a house. I just don't think what they are doing is legal. Thanks for the help in advance
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
6,988 posts, read 5,196,162 times
Reputation: 9419
Quote:
Originally Posted by catfarmharp View Post
So I've read a lot of articles talking about breaking a lease. I am just leaving just to get a new job. Nothing special, so I don't fall into the categories where personnel don't have to pay any extra after putting in the notice. I saw articles saying that if the apartment gets rented out immediately that I shouldn't have to pay either. My apartment complex already has a tenant lined up to move in right after I leave and they are paying quite a bit more. They are charging me 2 months rent still plus damages. Is this legal? I've went through my contract and there is nothing in my contract talking about early termination.
Maybe. Did you agree to an early termination fee of 2 months rent, or did they just tell you that and they have a tenant lined up?


Quote:
Originally Posted by catfarmharp View Post
Also for carpet repairs, can they charge me for replacement before they even have a quote? They told me if I left before I paid for repairs that I would go to collections. Don't they owe me a bill first? And for carpet repairs can they charge me for the full amount of replacement if the previous company shredded all their carpet documents. They have no real proof of the age of the carpet.


Sorry this is so long winded, but they are trying to take over 4200 dollars from me and I'm in the process of buying a house. I just don't think what they are doing is legal. Thanks for the help in advance
No, they have to prorate the carpet by age. They can send you a bill with a receipt for the work after you leave. It doesn't sound on the up and up to me.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles County
11,068 posts, read 8,998,172 times
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They are charging 2 months rent equivalent as a lease break fee. This lease break fee of 2x rent needs to be in the lease. This is perfectly legal in most locales but check your local laws. This does not mean the place is yours for 2 months after you break the lease and pay the fee, it means your fee for breaking was 2x the rent. You wouldn't be on the hook if the lease said nothing about breaking the lease then they rented it immediately. Maybe a few days?
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:27 PM
 
3 posts, read 937 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
Maybe. Did you agree to an early termination fee of 2 months rent, or did they just tell you that and they have a tenant lined up?
So I've already paid because I didn't know there was laws preventing them from double dipping. The day I went in to tell them they said the fee was 2 months rent. The lady at the front desk let it slip that they have someone moving in shortly after my departure.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
No, they have to prorate the carpet by age. They can send you a bill with a receipt for the work after you leave. It doesn't sound on the up and up to me.



As for the prorate they just are going to assume that it was the newest carpet installed because of the color. Also if they upgrade the carpet do I have to pay for that too. What was previously installed was the cheapest quality carpet by far.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
6,988 posts, read 5,196,162 times
Reputation: 9419
Quote:
Originally Posted by catfarmharp View Post
So I've already paid because I didn't know there was laws preventing them from double dipping. The day I went in to tell them they said the fee was 2 months rent. The lady at the front desk let it slip that they have someone moving in shortly after my departure.








As for the prorate they just are going to assume that it was the newest carpet installed because of the color. Also if they upgrade the carpet do I have to pay for that too. What was previously installed was the cheapest quality carpet by far.
If you paid, then you agreed to it as a fee. It isn't unusual as a fee for a lease break.

How long have you lived in the unit?

No, they can't charge you to replace el cheapo stuff with fine Berber carpet.

And, if they are only allowed to charge a pro rated value. Is the carpet destroyed? Need new padding and treatment due to a cat peeing all over?
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:46 PM
 
3 posts, read 937 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOV View Post

How long have you lived in the unit?


And, if they are only allowed to charge a pro rated value. Is the carpet destroyed? Need new padding and treatment due to a cat peeing all over?


Lived there for a year and a half. I have a few holes in the living room and anywhere there is a door or seam the carpet is peeling up. The bedroom is 100% fine but they said they would replace all of the carpet so it will match, really they just want different carpet. They want me to pay 2000 upfront and that just seems excessive, my apartment is pretty small with cheap carpet.
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:41 PM
 
539 posts, read 293,075 times
Reputation: 947
Lease break fee, yes.

Carpet? No. And threatening to go to collections when they cannot provide a bill is a no no too. They habe to prorate it, and have to prorate what the original grade of carpet was, not better quality. If they are renovating they cannot charge you at all because they planned to replaacd it regardless. You have the right to demand a receipt and what EXACTLY they are charging you for. If you didnt stain the carpet they cant charge you for ruining the subfloor. Or upgrading.
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Old 06-07-2017, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
6,988 posts, read 5,196,162 times
Reputation: 9419
Quote:
Originally Posted by catfarmharp View Post
Lived there for a year and a half. I have a few holes in the living room and anywhere there is a door or seam the carpet is peeling up. The bedroom is 100% fine but they said they would replace all of the carpet so it will match, really they just want different carpet. They want me to pay 2000 upfront and that just seems excessive, my apartment is pretty small with cheap carpet.
Year and a half...and it was there when you moved in.

The carpet peeling at doorways is their deal, wear and tear. How did the holes get there?

Tell them to pound sand and produce an invoice for completed work, prorated for at least half. It is reasonable to assume that if it wasn't new when you moved in 1.5 years ago then its at least 2.5 years old. 5 year carpet is all most rentals install.
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Old 06-07-2017, 03:26 PM
 
3,463 posts, read 2,297,652 times
Reputation: 3952
This is my opinion only and not legal advice:

Based on your profile zip you are located in VA. In VA a LL has the duty to mitigate damages on a lease break situation. If there is no lease termination clause in your lease then you are only responsible for lost rent until they find another tenant or until the end of your lease term whichever comes first. In other words, the LL can't just make up the rules as they go along and pick a fee out of the air. It has to be in the lease. So, as you stated, there is someone moving into your apt as soon as you vacate so you would owe no money for the lease break.

I know another poster above stated that once you paid the 2 months that you are SOL however, I wouldn't sit still for that. I would write them a letter and ask that that money be returned to you for the reasons I stated. If they don't refund it then I would sue them in small claims court. No court is going to let a LL/PM just pick things out of the air or make up rules as they go along. It needs to be in the lease as well as enforceable according to your state rental laws.

More info here: Tenant's Right to Break a Rental Lease in Virginia | Nolo.com

And as far as the carpet, if they can't prove how old the carpet is then it would never hold up in court because courts want concrete proof. Again, they can't just make stuff up or assume things as they go along. So, if the carpet is worn out due to normal wear and tear then I would also tell your LL to pound sand (as JONOV stated) and I would not pay. Call their bluff and let them take you to court because they have no proof of how old the carpet is. (I would also make sure to take really good pictures of the carpet with the wear as well as photos of your whole apt because you don't know what else they are going to try and charge you for or what proof you may need if it goes to court).

I would suggest sending a letter (certified/return receipt requested) to your LL stating both issues above as well as the applicable laws in VA (VA lease termination law is quoted in the link above with the applicable statutes) and let them know you are 1) requiring the 2 months rent for early termination be returned and 2) that you are not paying the carpet cost without concrete proof of the age of the carpet. And if they do end up finding proof of when the carpet was installed it still needs to be pro-rated based on similar carpet and not an upgrade of carpet. Give them 10 days to respond or you will take them to small claims court for the return of the 2 months lease termination fee.

Good luck!
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