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Old 11-21-2011, 06:50 PM
 
3 posts, read 8,124 times
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Hello,

I'm looking to move out of my apartment after being intimidated by a lack of cooperation by my landlord. The building is out of code, no light in the bedroom, no outlet in the bathroom. There is also no stove in the apartment.

I signed a month to month rental agreement. The agreement specifically says month to month, however there is a part that says that I must pay $400 for staying less than a year. Is this legal? I appreciate any insight on how I should handle this. I live in RI.
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:04 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
31,803 posts, read 72,822,096 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveCore32 View Post
I signed a month to month rental agreement.
Check YOUR state laws to be sure but everywhere I know of this means that your obligation is limited to one month at a time.

Quote:
The agreement specifically says month to month, however there is a part that says that I must pay $400 for staying less than a year. Is this legal?
As described? No. That would be a contradiction
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:31 AM
 
Location: Southern California
3,114 posts, read 7,842,004 times
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MrRational covered the important part of you post, so I'll comment on the less important part...

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveCore32 View Post
The building is out of code, no light in the bedroom, no outlet in the bathroom. There is also no stove in the apartment.
I don't know about your area, but where I live, none of those things would be considered a problem.

It was very common in the 1980's and 1990's to build bedrooms without an overhead light - the expectation was that you would use lamps instead, since they were more appropriate lighting for a bedroom - which I find silly, but that was the reasoning at the time!

And I've definitely rented places with no outlet in the bathroom - it's inconvenient, but not the end of the world. I just blew my hair dry in the bedroom.

And we have studios and bachelor apartments that often come with nothing but a tiny refrigerator and a sink - and the tenant brings a microwave or hot plate if they want to cook in the unit.

But luckily if you have a month to month agreement, rather than a lease, you can get out with only 30-days notice!
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:27 AM
 
Location: New England
241 posts, read 739,046 times
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Here is a link to the RI tenant/landlord handbook. You can download it. But my question would be, why would you sign an agreement of any kind if you object to what is included in it?

http://www.hrc.ri.gov/documents/2007..._Handbook2.pdf
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:26 AM
 
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First apartment, I should have done my research. According tothe RI Handbook, those things are against code. My question is towards the move out fee.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 44,839,894 times
Reputation: 9433
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveCore32 View Post
Hello,

I'm looking to move out of my apartment after being intimidated by a lack of cooperation by my landlord. The building is out of code, no light in the bedroom, no outlet in the bathroom. There is also no stove in the apartment.

"Feeling intimidated and Lack of cooperation by your landlord" doesn't necessarily entitle you to anything. Especially if it was in regard to something the landlord has no legal obligation to provide.

It is often the tenant's obligation to provide a stove if there is space for one.

A building built to older codes does not necessarily have to upgrade to meet newer codes unless it is renovated. So newer codes may have no bearing. What do your state landlord tenant laws say about minimum facilities? That has more bearing.

It is possible that you live in an illegal apartment, depending on your local zoning and code requirements. In which case your state landlord tenant laws may limit the landlords rights to charge you anything upon move out. You need to verify this.

I signed a month to month rental agreement. The agreement specifically says month to month, however there is a part that says that I must pay $400 for staying less than a year. Is this legal? I appreciate any insight on how I should handle this. I live in RI.

It could be entirely legal since you knowingly signed a legal contract agreeing to the $400 penalty for staying less then a year, it may be enforceable if there is nothing else invalidating the contract. You agreed to it, hypothetically in exchange for a lower monthly rate if you stayed a year. If you move out earlier the landlord could be entitled to the $400. Month to month entitles you to move out with the minimum notice required, but it does not necessarily entitle you to escape the early move out fee.
See my comments above. My comments do not constitute legal advice.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:28 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 43,107,256 times
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Interesting. I have rented on a month to month basis a few times and more than once there was an added fee per month. I guess if I had the choice between an automatic increase every month or one tacked on to the end I would pick the one tacked on to the end in case I stayed more than a year.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,425,175 times
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I agree with CptnRn. I think this is very possibly enforceable. Basically, what it is saying is that your obligation is month to month, but if you stay a shorter time, they want a premium on the rent. They just charge it in a lump sum instead of as you go. Most places want a premium on a month to month rental and this is just a different way of going about it.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if a judge upheld that clause.

I also agree with what others have said, that older homes do not have to be brought up to current code. Having a light in the bedroom, or an outlet in the bathroom, or a stove, are not requirements for habitability. They may be against current code, but that doesn't mean anything at all, unless they were also out of code at the time the property was built.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 44,839,894 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manderly6 View Post
Interesting. I have rented on a month to month basis a few times and more than once there was an added fee per month. I guess if I had the choice between an automatic increase every month or one tacked on to the end I would pick the one tacked on to the end in case I stayed more than a year.
That is basically the understanding with a month to month rental, the rent could go up at any time, with a 30 day notice (in most places). It is unclear without seeing the lease in question if there was any guarantee that the rent would not increase until the end of the year.
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:41 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 43,107,256 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CptnRn View Post
That is basically the understanding with a month to month rental, the rent could go up at any time, with a 30 day notice (in most places). It is unclear without seeing the lease in question if there was any guarantee that the rent would not increase until the end of the year.
I don't mean a rent increase over time. I mean a higher amount than a 12 month lease. So if a 12 month lease was $1,000 a month, a month to month would be $1,100 a month.

And if I had a choice I would rather take a "fee" added to the end just in case I did stay for more than 11 months instead of a guaranteed fee each month.
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