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  1. #1
    tinyfairypeople is offline Junior Member
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    Dec 2007
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    Can a landlord charge fees not in your lease?

    What is the name of your state? Washington but my property managers operate out of Oregon


    Hello. We are looking at buying a house and I recently contacted our property management company to find out what all we would need to do to end our lease. The leasing agent sent me a copy of my lease that stated I could either pay a $2000 break the lease fee in addition to rent until the unit is re-rented or I could find a person to sign a new 1 year lease with them and my break the lease fee would be reduced to $1000 and rent until the unit is reoccupied. It also states in the lease that if they are required to use a special to get someone to rent the unit (i.e. $100 off first month's rent) that I will be required to pay the difference. Well, the "lease specialist" with their company took it upon himself to also e-mail me and tell me that in addition to all of this, we will be required to pay back the difference on the rent special that we got when we moved in. It does not say this anywhere in our lease. First of all, can they legally charge fees that we did not agree to in writing, and secondly, if they do indeed try to charge this fee, what legal action can I take to avoid it in the first place? What can I do/say to stand up and refuse to pay what I did not agree to in my lease?

    Here are copies of what they e-mailed me as well as what my lease states:

    This is from the girl who works at the property management company:
    "According to your lease: The lease break fee is $2,000. In addition to a Notice to Vacate, and paying rent until a new lease is entered into with qualifying tenants.
    Although, if you find an approved applicant the lease break fee is $1,000 in addition to the notice to vacate and also paying rent until the new approved/qualifying tenants take possession. The lease break fee is due once you notify us your intent to vacate. To make sure nothing is missed I attached the copies of your agreement."


    Here is what the "leasing specialist" sent me:

    " As
    you
    know, "kate" has sent you most of the information that you need. I
    would
    like to add a couple of item. If you received any kind of rent
    promotion, IE
    a month free, you must also repay that. You will need to give a 30 day
    notice, and the new tenant would not take over your lease, they would
    start
    a new one for them."
  2. #2
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    They cannot charge you ANY additional fees without your consent UNLESS they are written in your lease. Simply inform the leasing agent to point out where in your lease it states all the additional fee information. If they cannot find it, you are not legally required to pay for it.
  3. #3
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Something is shady in them asking you to pay $1-2k ON TOP OF RENT until the unit is re-rented. You shouldn't be liable for more then advertising fees for finding a new tenant. It sounds like double dipping to me. You would pay less by just moving out and continuing to pay rent until the end of the term, it seems.
  4. #4
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    Break lease penalties are not unusual, and (s)he did sign the contract. It would probably be a good idea to have an attorney look over the lease for any clause that may nullify the lease or afford an out without penalties.
  5. #5
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    It sounds like that might be considered an "unconscionable clause", but that would depend on state laws and what local judges tend to rule. Consult a local LL/T attorney for a more educated opinion
  6. #6
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska landlord View Post
    Break lease penalties are not unusual, and (s)he did sign the contract.
    If there is NO provision inside the signed contract allowing a LL to charge extra for breaking a lease, they CANNOT charge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska landlord View Post
    It would probably be a good idea to have an attorney look over the lease for any clause that may nullify the lease or afford an out without penalties.
    always advisable.
  7. #7
    LindaP777 is offline Senior Member
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    I would venture to guess that a judge might see paying rent until the place is re-rented and a fee to break the lease would be "unjust enrichment".
  8. #8
    tinyfairypeople is offline Junior Member
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    Anyone know something I can legally do to stop them at the pass with charging me the extra fees, other than what I was stupid enough to sign and agree to? I have a feeling that if I go "point out exactly where in my lease it says that" and then when they give me some bs answers and I say "You do know that it is illegal for you to charge me any fees that I did not agree to in writing" that they will be like "OH OK" and then I will get sent to collections for the fees anyways.
  9. #9
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Hire a lawyer to write them a threatening letter. Might cost a couple hundred bucks. Much less then the $2000 they are trying to charge you ON TOP OF RENT for breaking your lease.

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