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Landlord wants to alter lease

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I live in Virginia in a two-bedroom basement apartment. My landlord and his family live upstairs. Under the one-year lease terms, the apartment pays one-third of the house's utilities and the landlord pays the rest.

There's a washer/dryer in the apartment, which everyone uses. My landlord thinks my roommate uses it too much -- three loads a week. (I average about one load a week.) He's afraid our utility bill will go through the roof and now he says he will raise our portion of the utility bill to one half unless she decreases her use.

Can he do that -- alter a lease on the fly? If so, can we refuse and leave without having to pay the full lease?

Or if not -- as my landlord might see it -- are we allowed to use appliances as wastefully as we want to as long as we pay our originally agreed-upon share?

I think three loads a week is a bit much, but my roommate won't budge. She says she'll leave if she has to reduce her use, leaving me with a room to fill. I'd appreciate any advice -- and quick!


mary hartman

actually the best is to stay right where you are, and pay 1/3 and use it as much as you want.

The landlord CANNOT alter the terms of a written lease until it expires PERIOD!

But wht interests me is the apartment being in the basement is probably ILLEGAL.....

And that would be to your advantage. Contact the buildings dept and get an inspector out there...the landlord could be fined or if you were in NYC you would not have to pay rent on an illegal apartment.

And they would have to evict you in court.....

So what do you want to do..be a wussie or do you want to learn about our country called AMERICA?

Start researching your state landlord tenant laws...

You could be in for a windfall...


Thanks for the info. We will wash with impunity! I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the apartment is legal because the landlord went through a realtor to find a tenant and sign a lease.

mary hartman

Virginia landlord tenant law....

read the last part... G.....If you dont consent to the increase then the landlord cannot legally increase your rent....

It still could be ILLEGAL.....they do it all the time here in NYcity...the landlord LIES about the legality of the apartment!


§ 55-248.7. Terms and conditions of rental agreement; copy for tenant.

A. A landlord and tenant may include in a rental agreement, terms and conditions not prohibited by this chapter or other rule of
law, including rent, charges for late payment of rent, term of the agreement and other provisions governing the rights and
obligations of the parties.

B. In the absence of a rental agreement, the tenant shall pay as rent the fair rental value for the use and occupancy of the
dwelling unit.

C. Rent shall be payable without demand or notice at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Unless otherwise agreed,
rent is payable at the place designated by the landlord and periodic rent is payable at the beginning of any term of one month or
less and otherwise in equal installments at the beginning of each month.

D. Unless the rental agreement fixes a definite term, the tenancy shall be week to week in case of a roomer who pays weekly
rent, and in all other cases month to month.

E. If the rental agreement contains any provision whereby the landlord may approve or disapprove a sublessee or assignee of
the tenant, the landlord shall within ten business days of receipt by him of the written application of the prospective sublessee or
assignee on a form to be provided by the landlord, approve or disapprove the sublessee or assignee. Failure of the landlord to
act within ten business days shall be deemed evidence of his approval.

F. A copy of any written rental agreement signed by both the tenant and the landlord shall be provided to the tenant within one
month of the effective date of the written rental agreement. The failure of the landlord to deliver such a rental agreement shall
not affect the validity of the agreement.

G. No unilateral change in the terms of a rental agreement by a landlord or tenant shall be valid unless (i) notice of the change is
given in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement or as otherwise required by law and (ii) both parties consent in
writing to the change.


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