|Apartment Lease Termination |
|Apartment Lease Termination | Landlord Laws|
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Apartment Lease Termination
Regulations regarding apartment lease termination vary from state to state. Some states, such as New York, are known to be very consumer's rights oriented, with rate caps on apartments. Other states, such as Colorado, are very protective landlords. That fact that laws vary so widely between states is all part of the republic based system of government that we have: if you don't like where you are living, you can move and live somewhere else. Unfortunately, many people don't realize how differently the law treats rent termination from one state to the next.
Most people mistakenly believe that their apartment termination rights begin and end with the written lease. Often, however, a written contract insufficiently defines a renter's rights upon termination of the lease. Prevailing market conditions of habitable apartment supply and demand tip the balance of power in favor of either the leasor (landlord) or the leasee (occupant). Therefore, state legislatures have stepped in to pass laws that regulate the industry.
One would think that they could look at the lease to understand all their rights when terminating a lease, but this is not the case. For instance, Colorado has a floating rate scale of how many months notice an agent must give the renter when terminating the lease. If the renter has been living in the dwelling for less than one year, he is obliged to be given 30 days notice. However, if he has been there one year or longer, he is obliged to be given more advance notice when terminating the lease.
There was a case where I was moving out of an apartment and a couple was moving in behind me. The new renters and I discussed their situation, and they told me that after two years of living in their old apartment the owner had suddenly notified them to move out with three weeks notice! They were scrambling night and day to find a place to live in an area where there were very few apartments available. I had to explain to them that they had rights that they hadn't exercised: they were entitled to at least two months termination notice. I also told them to look carefully at the lease they had signed for the new place they were moving into. "Notice that the term of the lease is 364 days?" I asked. "That's one day short of a year: the length of time before a two month termination notice according to the law kicks in." Agents and apartment managers know this, but they certainly don't bother to tell their tenants!
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