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Old 08-09-2016, 05:54 PM
 
3 posts, read 1,865 times
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Hey everyone,

Soon to be new Chicago resident here, very very excited, but my entry into the city has become a bit fouled by some landlord trickery.

I am moving in near the end of the month (August 25th), and the person who owns the condo I will be moving into has insisted I sign a lease for August 1st because I will be moving in off cycle. However, I have not signed a lease yet, and today is August 9th. I asked if they would be willing to pro-rate the rent for the days I'm not living there, to which they said no, so I verbally agreed to the terms because I really like the place (and I live across the country so I can't really see other places, I saw this unit at the end of July). I have already sent them a first month's rent and security deposit check, which they have cashed (shady, I know, especially since I haven't signed anything). What's even worse, they are currently living the condo still, but will be moving out in the middle of the month... and STILL want me to pay for a full month's rent.

I'm wondering: is there any way to legally establish the date at which I signed the lease (let's say today, August 9th) so that I am not required to pay the first 8 days of rent for which the lease is stated to begin (August 1). I realize I'm definitely getting taken advantage of, but I'm determined to live here and want to protect myself against paying for things I am not legally obligated to.

Hope the explanation makes sense. And perhaps, if anyone knows of any tenants rights resources I should look to elsewhere, let me know. I've already called Metropolitan Tenant Organization and they told me to call some lawyers... but I can't get a hold of any of them (go figure )... Of course, I'm not looking for official legal advice here, but if someone has any guidance as to what I should do to resolve the situation, lay them on me!
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Old 08-09-2016, 06:14 PM
 
1,851 posts, read 1,715,307 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HughManatee View Post
Hey everyone,

Soon to be new Chicago resident here, very very excited, but my entry into the city has become a bit fouled by some landlord trickery.

I am moving in near the end of the month (August 25th), and the person who owns the condo I will be moving into has insisted I sign a lease for August 1st because I will be moving in off cycle. However, I have not signed a lease yet, and today is August 9th. I asked if they would be willing to pro-rate the rent for the days I'm not living there, to which they said no, so I verbally agreed to the terms because I really like the place (and I live across the country so I can't really see other places, I saw this unit at the end of July). I have already sent them a first month's rent and security deposit check, which they have cashed (shady, I know, especially since I haven't signed anything). What's even worse, they are currently living the condo still, but will be moving out in the middle of the month... and STILL want me to pay for a full month's rent.

I'm wondering: is there any way to legally establish the date at which I signed the lease (let's say today, August 9th) so that I am not required to pay the first 8 days of rent for which the lease is stated to begin (August 1). I realize I'm definitely getting taken advantage of, but I'm determined to live here and want to protect myself against paying for things I am not legally obligated to.

Hope the explanation makes sense. And perhaps, if anyone knows of any tenants rights resources I should look to elsewhere, let me know. I've already called Metropolitan Tenant Organization and they told me to call some lawyers... but I can't get a hold of any of them (go figure )... Of course, I'm not looking for official legal advice here, but if someone has any guidance as to what I should do to resolve the situation, lay them on me!
I am not a lawyer, but I would not pay for the full month. Where is the unit? There are literally thousands of units in the city. If you're already getting questionable vibes from the landlord I would ask for your deposit back and find a new apt.
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Old 08-10-2016, 01:45 AM
 
Location: River North, Chicago, Illinois
4,568 posts, read 7,128,907 times
Reputation: 6205
You have more rights when you rent from an actual rental company, there are exceptions for small-time landlords.

That said, in this case you're likely at the mercy of the owner. If you haven't signed a lease, you have zero rights unless you want to attempt some sort of equal opportunity lawsuit. Technically a verbal agreement carries *some* weight, but nowhere near as much weight as an actual lease or contract. This is not a Chicago thing, this is a real world thing. In the real world, you do not give someone money without a lease drawn up. If you're doing it remotely, you may send money before you get your copy of the signed lease, but you should have a copy for you to sign before sending *any* money - doing otherwise is extremely naive and foolish.

At this point, you have very little leverage. With no signed lease, you can demand your checks back, but would likely have to sue to get them. And if the agreement was that you pay for August 1, then it doesn't matter when you actually move in. Many people are willing to pay an extra few weeks for a property they like just for peace of mind even if it is kind of a dick move by the landlord. That said, the landlord can easily say they had other interested parties who could have moved in Aug 1 and since they held it for you they are entitled to the rent. That they're there now *does* negate their right to rent but, again, you'd almost certainly have to sue them to get it and it's almost certainly not worth the time and expense to attempt that (how do you even prove they were still there if you're not even entitled to occupy yet since you don't have a lease?)

If you really like the property, suck it up and chalk it up to "lessons learned." If you think you want a more reliable landlord, sue for the checks and get a new property when you move - you can probably fine a new place within days once you arrive. If there is no lease, you will get a court to award you the return of any money, but it will take time and money to get the court order and probably even more money and time to actually get them to give you the money.

And, at risk of sounding like a broken record, never, ever send checks to someone without a written lease, preferably signed.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:24 AM
 
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I would just go with it and chalk up to lessons learned. What the landlord is saying and I kinda don't blame him or her is they wanted to rent it out for August first. They don't want to lose rent money. They could have rented to someone else and there would not have been this issue. If you can't be there till August 15, that's your problem. I'm a landlord and I offer an apt to rent at the beginning of the month, of course I have the lease signed ahead of time. If someone is not ready to move in right away they either need to pay for the whole month or get another apt for the next month. I don't think its shady its how rentals work. And why cause yourself all this trouble for what probably amounts to a few hundred dollars. The other question is could you have occupied it for August 1? If not I think you may have some rights to be upset. How was it advertised? They just may be living there because you said you could not come until later in the month.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:28 AM
 
1,851 posts, read 1,715,307 times
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Originally Posted by ToriaT View Post
I would just go with it and chalk up to lessons learned. What the landlord is saying and I kinda don't blame him or her is they wanted to rent it out for August first. They don't want to lose rent money. They could have rented to someone else and there would not have been this issue. If you can't be there till August 15, that's your problem. I'm a landlord and I offer an apt to rent at the beginning of the month, of course I have the lease signed ahead of time. If someone is not ready to move in right away they either need to pay for the whole month or get another apt for the next month. I don't think its shady its how rentals work. And why cause yourself all this trouble for what probably amounts to a few hundred dollars.
The landlords are still living in the condo though and won't be out until next week it sounds like. I can understand prorating it from the 15th onward, but to ask OP to pay the entirety of the month, even when they're living in it for half the month, sounds a bit ridiculous.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:31 AM
 
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True. If the unit was not able to be occupied by August 1, they should not have advertised it as such and should not have charged a full months rent. They should have prorated it.

But if I adverstised an apt as available August 1, and someone wanted it, and it was agreed upon then they should pay the full month rent.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:42 AM
 
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Hey everyone, thank you for the input, I actually received the lease today and wanted to confirm the wording to understand what I actually owe. Here are the terms of the lease (rent amount blanked out, also, the starting date has changed because I will actually be moving in later):

Quote:
1. TERMS: RESIDENT agrees to pay in advance $______ per month on the 1st day of each month. This agreement shall commence on August 27th, 2016 and continue; (check one)

A. until September 1, 2017 as a leasehold. Thereafter it shall become a month-to-month tenancy. If RESIDENT should move from the premises prior to the expiration of this time period, he shall be liable for all rent due until such time that the Residence is occupied by an OWNER approved paying RESIDENT and/or expiration of said time period,whichever is shorter.

Since the lease does not begin until August 27th, does that mean I would be legally obligated to pay for August in full, or just the portion of August in which I am living there? The first of the month has passed for August, and now that I am confident that the lease terms do not begin on August 1, what does this change for me, if anything?

Hoping to get feedback today as I'll need to send back the lease relatively soon. Thank you in advance for the assistance.
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Old 08-10-2016, 11:10 AM
 
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It seems to me that if that is the wording of the lease it is not in effect until August 27 and anything before that is negotiable. I would not pay from August 1 then. I suggest having a phone conversation with the landlord. I'd ask them why you should pay for the whole month of August if you are not living there and also because they still occupy the premises.
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Old 08-10-2016, 01:01 PM
 
Location: River North, Chicago, Illinois
4,568 posts, read 7,128,907 times
Reputation: 6205
Quote:
Originally Posted by HughManatee View Post
Hey everyone, thank you for the input, I actually received the lease today and wanted to confirm the wording to understand what I actually owe. Here are the terms of the lease (rent amount blanked out, also, the starting date has changed because I will actually be moving in later):




Since the lease does not begin until August 27th, does that mean I would be legally obligated to pay for August in full, or just the portion of August in which I am living there? The first of the month has passed for August, and now that I am confident that the lease terms do not begin on August 1, what does this change for me, if anything?

Hoping to get feedback today as I'll need to send back the lease relatively soon. Thank you in advance for the assistance.
It would be standard practice to prorate a partial month. A generous landlord might even give you those five days free, but any fair landlord would pro-rate August so that you'd pay 5/31sts worth of rent for August. A good lease would specify how partial months are handled (the last lease I signed with a mid-month move-in date explicitly listed the pro-rated cost of the partial month). Now, I am not a lawyer but I would be shocked if case law didn't presume pro-rated rent if it's not explicit in the lease.

That said, the landlord sounds like a hack. Even in the snippet you quoted from the lease, it extends to "September 1, 2017" which is very odd and unusual. The vast majority of leases extend to the last day of the last month, so in this case it should have been written to end on August 31st, 2017.

I personally hate dealing with small-time landlords because half the time they're literally crazy. The other half of the time they can be great, but it's such a roll of the dice. Your prospective landlord is trending strongly toward crazy, though.
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Old 08-10-2016, 01:16 PM
 
3 posts, read 1,865 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emathias View Post
It would be standard practice to prorate a partial month. A generous landlord might even give you those five days free, but any fair landlord would pro-rate August so that you'd pay 5/31sts worth of rent for August. A good lease would specify how partial months are handled (the last lease I signed with a mid-month move-in date explicitly listed the pro-rated cost of the partial month). Now, I am not a lawyer but I would be shocked if case law didn't presume pro-rated rent if it's not explicit in the lease.

That said, the landlord sounds like a hack. Even in the snippet you quoted from the lease, it extends to "September 1, 2017" which is very odd and unusual. The vast majority of leases extend to the last day of the last month, so in this case it should have been written to end on August 31st, 2017.

I personally hate dealing with small-time landlords because half the time they're literally crazy. The other half of the time they can be great, but it's such a roll of the dice. Your prospective landlord is trending strongly toward crazy, though.
My understanding is that the landlord is very new to this, I'm their first tenant ever, not that this excuses the lack of professionalism. Too bad I'm doing this all remotely and need to secure it before I move in two weeks...

The way I see it, I'm thinking I should sign the lease either way, because here are the possible scenarios in my mind:

1. Given the somewhat vague terms of my lease, I operate under the assumption that the lease applies to September 1 and so does my first months rent deposit. Ask for forgiveness not permission with the hope that law is on my side and I am in the right, based off of the lease terms.

2. I am wrong about the lease terms and I still pay for the full month of August (which I was expecting to do anyway)

I guess I'm thinking that I have nothing to lose by signing the lease in the current state and then I will be secure in a place to move in, dealing with the problem after the fact. Any thoughts?
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