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Apt goes condo?

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pfine2215

Guest
What is the name of your state? florida(miami area)

My daughter goes to college in Florida. We signed an application in April(not lease!) and gave 1 month's deposit to hold apt(200 unit complex). A few months later, when lease had not arrived, I called to check on status. I was told the apt complex had been sold and was being converted to condo. We did not wish to buy, so started looking for alternative apt. We got approval for one today.

Key issue is original lease terms were for 7 month lease, but apt complex policy was to allow month to month extensions(at a quoted surcharge) to finish school year. New apt owners would only honor length of original lease application(7 months). No guaranteed extension; up to new owner of individual unit.

The apt manager is saying our deposit is forfeit. I say that the terms of the contract were changed when new owners refused to honor previous policy/precedent of monthly extensions for finishing school year. However, the only thing I have in writing are my own notes about the surcharge.

In addition, the apt complex shouldn't lose any money by our not moving in, because the new leases will be written 40% premium to our rental agreement, and we were also told there was a waiting list of over 100 people to buy our apt unit.

What are my legal rights in this matter, and if the apt mgr refuses to return deposit, does this have to go to some type of arbitration or do we pursue in Small Claims Court(about $950)?

Thank you-

pfine2215
 


C

CA. Landlady

Guest
They are shooting for liquidated damages which $950 seems VERY high and may be deemed so in court.

I'm a little confused about the chain of events here.

If you made a deposit on something that is no longer available for rent how can they even think for a minute of retaining your deposit? No apts are for rent were you submited deposit?

Is there anything in writing such as a reservation to rent? You mentioned you had anticipated a lease to be sent to you so at the time you made deposit was there an EXACT address assigned to your daughter and it's in writing? If yes, and the unit is no longer available for her to rent then they loose.

Also, if there is a reservation to lease, didn't they write that the term would be 7 months? The verbal conversation about what happens after seven months as a breach would most likely not hold too much weight in court.
 
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pfine2215

Guest
Landlady: Clarification.

We sent in a one month deposit($950) along with the application, which had a separate $50 fee(which I am not trying to get back). The application was approved and the apt was being held for my daughter. A few months later, the apt complex was sold to a developer who will turn the units into condos as the rent leases expire. The new owners will honor all current and approved leases(such as ours), but only for the terms of the lease(in our case, 7 months). They will NOT honor the previous apt complex owners' established policy of permitting month to month extensions of the lease at a monthly surcharge. Since the 7 month lease leaves my daughter 2 months short of the full school year, she would have to find another place to live that would take her and the roommate for only two months(unlikely). So we have found another apt complex that will give a nine month lease. We want the security deposit back that was submitted with the application fee because the original terms of our taking the apt have changed(no more month to month extensions).

Since the new owners don't want to rent the apts, but would rather sell them, our not taking the lease frees up another unit for immediate sale. We were told there was a waiting list to buy these apts(of which ours is a desirable corner unit) of over 100 people. It appears that no loss in value will be incurred by the new apt complex owners by our not taking possession of the apt. In fact, they benefit.

So, once again, what are my options and rights in this matter?

Thanks-

pfine2215
 
C

CA. Landlady

Guest
Have you asked to speak with the manager's supervisor? Speak and it's best to also write them for a paper trail demanding a refund or a 9 month lease.

While explaining everything you have said here, also say you just feel that you submitted a deposit in "good faith" but now it turns out to be to your "deteriment" (equitable estoppel) as there was absolutely no way you would have submitted the deposit if it wasn't the previous company's policy of allowing residents to continue renting month to month after the lease expires and surely they must have proof of that once they purchased the property and found people renting month to month? Then, add what I have mentioned about $950 being very high "liquidated damages" considering you are not changing the terms agreed upon originally by an "expressed contract" (contracts can be verbal or oral but oral is tough to prove) that you have notes to the fact and now have choosen another community for your daughter to move to that will allow a 9 month lease as evidence of what you originally agreed to and you good faith attempt to ensure her residenancy until the school semester ends. Ask him/her how h/she would feel about this matter if it were to happen to them, if they have $950 to just throw away, and ask if h/she has any children. Then, ask for a 9 month lease in "good faith". If the supervisor refuses a refund and/or a 9 month lease let her/him know you will be making this same request in writing as further evidence of your willingness for an "equitable solution" and if not resolved you will have no alterative except to take legal action.

Now, be prepared for the company to say, "well you had no written guarantee that your daughter would be allowed to rent month to month after the 7 month lease expired even if the previous company verbally promised it. I would say, "yes now I realize that and I will no longer trust people to honor their promises but since you will be better off with my daughter not moving in which your manager told me there is a waiting list to purchase, you will benefit more than I". If h/she says, "we will lose rent with your cancellation" say, "no you would not if you just honor in writing a 7 month lease with month to month there after which I was willing to pay extra for or now a 9 month lease". In fact, with a 9 month lease they are guaranteed rent rather than her moving at the expiration of a 7 month lease.
 
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michael parks

Guest
You are still missing the point, what does the lease say happens after the lease expires? NOT what the previous management 's policy was.

Does it say anywhere in the lease it goes month to month afetr expiration? And when is the starting date of the lease?
 

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