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lease is ambiguous and want to terminate it early

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Lease is ambiguous and want to terminate it early. What are my rights?

State: California

there is a line on my lease that states "the term of the lease is for the following (please select only one of the options). 1) For the period starting Aug 31 2000 to Aug 31 2001) 2) Month to Month, the lease can be terminated with 30 days notice."
when i signed the lease the landlord had signed both check boxes which i took to mean that both apply.
i want to terminate my lease early but my landlord claims that i owe the rent for the full term.
my stance is that i am able to terminate the lease right now with 30 days notice since that was one of the options selected.
the lease seems ambiguous?
what are my rights?



I cant believe how dumb people are about THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

ONE you signed a lease, and you said you would pay rent for 1 WHOLE YEAR ...... NO EXCUSES!

Two, the Landlord is entitled for you to pay ALL of the rent, UNLESS you both agree to terminate the lease on a certain day IN WRITING!

Third since the landlord wants his money, YOU must find a suitable replacement tenant who will give the LL a deposit and sign a lease, for the next rental period after you leave.

Fourth YOU must show the apartment and help the lanlord re-rent it......So ask the landlord to put ads in for next week, it WILL be deducted from your security deposit..

Fifth: And most importantly if the landlord refuses to try and re rent THEN you have a valid case that the rent stops at the end of that month AND it was the LANDLORD's deciesion to keep the place empty and not recieve rent for that month.

Thats it.....The landlord is entitled BY LAW not to lose one days rent on YOU!



:D Landlord Doing You A Favor!

Hey, timmy7

What your reading, what you thought it meant and what you want aren't all the same.

You have a lease for one year ending August 31 2001.
Your liable for that entire time.

The Month To Month box then applies at the end of the lease, 08-31-01. You pay rent on a monthly bases from that time onwards.

If you choose to remain there after the lease ends, great. Once your paying month to month, {after 08-31} you must provide a 30 notice prior to moving out.

Case Closed.
Courts Adjourned.
Regards and Good Luck.



Senior Member
Both of the previous answers are INCORRECT

Landlord is using an old lease that was discarded by the CAR * CA Realtor Association as it was re-written by Professional Publishing - their document/form supplier several years ago.

Since the lease wording is conflicting, the burden is on the "preparer" your landlord; to explain which portion of the wording is correct - in court.

You should provide the proper 30 day notice and let landlord sue you in Small Claims. You would have a very good chance as most CA judges have seen this problem lease many, many time.

You need to pay attention to this type of situation when you read a document. It is doubtful the landlord knew what a problem it would be and since he probably only uses the document a couple of times a year, he is not familiar with the problems the document has caused others.


Clarification Requested

Hello: Cvillecpm

As the header indicates, please clarify. Maybe I am not the only one confused or about to be confused here.

I can fully agree with your first three paragraphs.

However, in your first paragrapgh, does this mean to imply, since new rules have been implemented and forums reworded to comply with the new law, it nullifies the current lease???

If such is the case, based upon your understanding and advice offered, then ALL current leases written on the OLD forms are NULL and VOID???? Kindly expound.

I refer back to my orginal advice to timmy7. He MUST complete the terms of the current lease. Should he be planning to move out, give a 30 day notice prior to current lease ending, move out on the date in the lease or pay month to month after the lease ends.

Regardless of the wording of the existing and outdated lease timmy is bound to, in my opinion, he should NOT take his chances in court based soley upon conflicting wording.



Where can I get a copy of the re-written Lease?

Cvillecpm - I am a landlord in CA and I am also using that same old lease. If this has been replaced, I would like to be using the more current one. Do you know if this lease is available online? If not, can you tell me where I can get a copy of this lease?


Senior Member
Marianne, you can buy the new forms from the CAR bookstore.

I wish to clear up an issue with respect to the old form. Just because the form is an old lease agreement form that CAR no longer uses, the form used still forms a valid and enforceable lease agreement contract. The document being old and replaced by updated newer revisions of the form in no way voids the contract. In addition, there is no such law that voids all previous old lease forms when a new one comes out. Also a L and T is not required by law to use the CAR form, a form bought at an office supply outlet or any other pre-printed form. A legal and binding lease agreement could be written on the back of a napkin in a Denny's restaurant.

Thus, the writer has a valid contract yet the term m/m vs. fixed can be argued. I would argue that the fixed term stands since the term is longer than the m/m tenancy even if T agreed to both.


Senior Member

Lease is VALID and the burden is on the maker-landlord to prove that it is a year lease since both boxes were checked.

You can purchase new lease forms at most Realtor offices AND through Professional Publishing on-line. They are in San Rafael, CA. You can also get good forms from CAA.


Facing The Facts

The issue is now clear.
New form---old form
Doesn't Matter!

Hello again Timmy7

I hope you and many others are reading ever word here.
In summation, I revert back to my orginal advice, that of dj1 and also HomeGuru.

You have signed a legal and binding lease valid through 08-31-01. Your stuck paying rent through that period of time. There is no early out and the lease is binding regardless of which form it is written upon.

Therefore, you cannot terminate the lease early without mutual agreement between you and the landlord. Nor would it behove you to this late in the term of the lease.

STOP looking for a "LOOP HOLE" to justify your personal desire to end the lease early.

START looking for another place to live and "READ" and "UNDERSTAND" any new lease you sign. Lesson learned!

Thanks to everyone for clearing up the confusing matter of which form the lease was signed on. That point was of no real importance on the topic.

Case Closed.
Courts Adjourned.
Regards and Good Luck.


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