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Old 10-02-2020, 08:49 AM
 
3 posts, read 786 times
Reputation: 10

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I signed a 12-month rental agreement for an apartment in Grand Rapids for July 2020-July 2021. Due to family financial hardships on the other side of the state, I was looking to sublease the place for the remainder of the time. In the rental agreement I signed, here is the section on subleasing.

SUBLETTING AND ASSIGNMENT:
Tenant shall not sublet or assign the premises without the prior written consent of Landlord. Consent shall not be
unreasonably withheld. Subletting by less than all of the tenants requires the written consent of the other Tenants as well as
by the Landlord. A sublet or assignment agreement approval by Landlord does not terminate Tenant's responsibility for
payment due under this lease.

When I called the management company to discuss this option, they shut it down completely and said that they do NOT allow subleasing, and that some of their other complexes do, which is why they have that statement. HOWEVER, at the top of the lease agreement, it states specifically that the agreement is for that apartment complex.

Is this a grey area that landlords can hide behind, or do I have a case?
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Louisville
4,378 posts, read 4,162,410 times
Reputation: 7507
Michigan law states that a renter must provide 30 days notice and the landlord must do their due diligence to fill the vacancy. Most lease break clauses aren't really enforceable in Michigan to the level they are written. Most property management companies count on the ignorance of tenants to enforce them. They are mostly designed to deter early lease breaks.

The caveat is they could come after you for any disputed charges including the lease break fees in the lease agreement and you would have to be prepared to fight back in that case. Disputes in Michigan typically favor the tennant if they are willing to fight but you need to have your ducks in a row.

Is this a private owner/small property or a big management company?
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:50 AM
 
3 posts, read 786 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
Is this a private owner/small property or a big management company?
This is a big management company called Ressco. https://ressco.com/property-management/
If I were to break the lease with a 60 day notice I would be responsible for essentially 4 months worth of rent (2 months of rent + 2 months lease break fee) and lose my 1.5x rent security deposit I gave them. This really wouldn't be an option for me.

If I was able to get a job relocation letter, I could move with the 60 day notice but would also forfeit my security deposit. At least this way I wouldn't be liable for the lease break fee I suppose.
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Old 10-02-2020, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Louisville
4,378 posts, read 4,162,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pingb View Post
This is a big management company called Ressco. https://ressco.com/property-management/
If I were to break the lease with a 60 day notice I would be responsible for essentially 4 months worth of rent (2 months of rent + 2 months lease break fee) and lose my 1.5x rent security deposit I gave them. This really wouldn't be an option for me.

If I was able to get a job relocation letter, I could move with the 60 day notice but would also forfeit my security deposit. At least this way I wouldn't be liable for the lease break fee I suppose.
Sounds like you're at Northview Harbor which has to be the sleaziest managed apartment community in the GR area. They are known for their predatory policies toward their residents. I'd see if there are tenant advocacy groups or something at the state level. You may be best off just breaking the lease if you can't afford to stay, and you can't afford the lease break fee's, and then battle them as you go. If you don't mind taking a hit to your credit there's virtually nothing else they can do to you at this point.

If you give 30 days notice, document everything, and fight back against them who knows you might not even take a hit to your credit. I almost wonder if one of the "problem solving teams" from a local news station might be able to help. I've long thought the apartment communities like Northview Harbor should be exposed for their over priced, questionably advertised "market rate" units, along with their ruthless lease break tactics. There's a couple other communities in the GR market that are similarly sleazy, but Northview Harbor has got to be the worst. I've long advised people I've helped move to steer clear of them.

Good luck! My thoughts are with you my friend.
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Old 10-02-2020, 12:10 PM
 
Location: on the wind
12,775 posts, read 6,286,991 times
Reputation: 42037
Quote:
Originally Posted by pingb View Post
If I was able to get a job relocation letter, I could move with the 60 day notice but would also forfeit my security deposit. At least this way I wouldn't be liable for the lease break fee I suppose.
Don't bet on it! Unless you get it in writing that they'll waive the lease break fee and be "satisfied" that you forfeit your deposit, they'll probably charge you. Depends on the LL.

I rented a house from an independent LL who used a local real estate agent as PM. I had rented the house the previous year with no problems. He was trying to sell the house, kept asking me if I would buy it and I kept declining as the house had one rather serious maintenance problem I didn't want to deal with and I had no plans to stay in the area long term. I think the LL had gotten himself overextended financially and was on the hook for another mortgaged house.

Anyway, we were in the process of negotiating a new year lease through the RE agent. Two days before all the signatures were finalized, my employer notified me I was being reassigned. It wasn't entirely unexpected, but up until then I didn't know for certain. I had told the LL and the agent in writing there was a possibility and that I would prefer to convert to a month to month rental agreement just in case. No definitive answer from the LL. I followed up with call after call; no answer. When the transfer became a reality of course I informed the agent and the LL immediately. He refused my request to convert to month to month claiming I hadn't informed him of the impending transfer. Not true. After all was said and done, come to find out the agent withheld my request and didn't send him the written proof of my reassignment. He was banking on his commission for that new year lease instead of a paltry month to month.

Despite doing everything according to the terms of the lease, not causing any problems during the previous lease, leaving the house immaculate, and despite the RE agent's shenanigans, the LL still wouldn't break me loose. Not only did I lose deposits and pay a fee, I also paid the jerk rent for 8 months after moving out. At that point I was 2000 miles away and not likely to fly back to deal with a court case. Come to find out later from a former neighbor the RE agent absconded with all my deposits and closed his office...no forwarding address. LL counted on paying his new mortgage using my rent...and was determined to get it no matter what hardship it caused anyone else.

Last edited by Parnassia; 10-02-2020 at 12:26 PM..
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Old 10-06-2020, 11:33 PM
 
Location: West Coast U.S.A.
1,871 posts, read 563,329 times
Reputation: 2435
Quote:
... Despite doing everything according to the terms of the lease, not causing any problems during the previous lease, leaving the house immaculate, and despite the RE agent's shenanigans, the LL still wouldn't break me loose. Not only did I lose deposits and pay a fee, I also paid the jerk rent for 8 months after moving out. At that point I was 2000 miles away and not likely to fly back to deal with a court case. Come to find out later from a former neighbor the RE agent absconded with all my deposits and closed his office...no forwarding address. LL counted on paying his new mortgage using my rent...and was determined to get it no matter what hardship it caused anyone else.
Damn! That sucks!

Last edited by mjlo; 10-07-2020 at 04:39 AM..
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Old 10-08-2020, 01:35 PM
 
Location: on the wind
12,775 posts, read 6,286,991 times
Reputation: 42037
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angry-Koala View Post
Damn! That sucks!
You bet it did! Especially fun paying him rent in addition to a mortgage in my new location (after this fiasco I was understandingly leery of renting again)! Let's just say that LL got himself crossed off my Christmas card list
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Old 10-14-2020, 11:08 PM
 
103 posts, read 26,916 times
Reputation: 349
I just don't understand stuff like this. If my tenant wants to leave for any reason why would I hold him?

With sufficient notice it's never a problem. There are plenty of people looking to rent any type of residence or apartment. I never understood the mentality of holding tenants who no longer want to be there, and especially those who can't pay due to a job loss.

Holding people who don't want to be there is just silly from a (ok, my) landlord's perspective. It can only lead to damages, people hating your guts, bad reviews, and there's even a potential for violence.

  • If someone can't pay let them go. You won't get anything out of them anyway.
  • New job and need to move? Just go. Good for you.
  • Family troubles? Just go. Take care of that.
  • Deployment? Yep. BTDT. Also I legally have to honor that.
  • Getting married and moving in with your S.O? Go for it. Who cares?

I prefer to avoid problems. I don't want someone trashing the place (or shooting me) if they don't get released from their lease. I just say "yep, turn it over squeaky clean and I'll let you off the hook with your security deposit"
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Old 10-14-2020, 11:17 PM
 
103 posts, read 26,916 times
Reputation: 349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parnassia View Post
You bet it did! Especially fun paying him rent in addition to a mortgage in my new location (after this fiasco I was understandingly leery of renting again)! Let's just say that LL got himself crossed off my Christmas card list
Why did you even pay?

A good word of advice is that you let the other guy come after you for the money. You gave in too easily. Here's a hint: small landlords like me won't come after you for pocket change. The juice is not worth the squeeze, but most landlords are counting on using intimidation tactics and having those be strong enough. I don't bother with that even. As long as the place is in good shape then there's no problem, someone else will come along.

Lawyers and courts are expensive, and even more important is the lost TIME. Not worth it to squeeze a couple bucks out of someone, if you can even get that out of them. Now actual physical damages....that's another matter, but again it's a dollar amount calculation. Less than $1,000?....not even worth the time/effort.

Besides, from what I gathered reading your post is that you did not renew your lease anyway and that no signatures were finalized. So why did you pay?
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Old 10-27-2020, 09:25 AM
 
3 posts, read 786 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you everyone. I'm getting a job relocation letter from my employer today - I'm hoping to submit it at the end of the month so that I'm out of that hellhole by January 1st. It will bite to lose that security deposit, but having freedom from the wrath of the property management is more important to my well-being. I still think its a joke that they can keep my deposit due to a relocation, though.
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