Landlord dispute - Help!!

<p>Here's the deal - short story:</p>

<p>21 yr old college student in Va was to move from one house to another on Sat Jul 31st. Same landlord, first lease ended midnight 7/31, new lease began 12:01 am 8/1.</p>

<p>On Sat afternoon - an hour or two after a discussion with me and her in person as to when she could move into the new house (initially was told she could take possession on noon Sat, then 1 pm then 5 pm)
the landlord called and told her it was over. He would not contract with her.<br>
She then had 8 hours to vacate the house and no place to go.
Fortunately she was able to stash her stuff and squat. After much hustling she has found a new place to live. whew.</p>

<p>Questions -
She and he signed the lease in May. Lease stipulates the landlord must give 7 days written notice for her to vacate the property. he obviously didn't give her notice in writing.
We attempted to contact him but he refused the phone calls. </p>

<p>She is in the process of contacting legal aid to get legal help on getting her deposit money back and possible damages (4 nights lodging).
She does not have a voided contract, is prepared to sign another lease tomorrow. I am nervous about her signing another lease without her old lease being voided.
Any input on this from legal minds??</p>

<p>"new lease began 12:01 am 8/1."</p>

<p>Forgive my confusion, but if you have a signed lease, it seems to me that landlord does not have a "leg to stand on"; he has to honor the new one....am I missing something?</p>

<p>Or am I reading this incorrectly; she signed a lease that allowed the landlord to throw her out with 7 days notice?
so you are asking about that or the fact that he is not letting her take the apt?</p>

<p>I, too, am confused. Did she have a signed lease for the place she was going to move into on the 1st? Was she violating any aspect of her previous lease (you mention the new lease was also with the same landlord). If she didn't have a new lease starting August 1, then she will probably have a difficult time getting hotel money etc. The deposit she should be refunded although she should read the lease (on her original apartment) to see how much time the landlord has to refund the deposit. Last year my 21 year old signed a lease that had a clause giving the landlord three months to return deposits. If she did sign a lease for the "new place" to commence on August 1 then it becomes a battle. I guess in the long run your student needs to figure out what transpired between house A and house B that caused the landlord not to follow through and what battles are worth fighting. If she's consulted legal aid I'm sure they will advise.</p>

<p>As a parent on another thread noted, you can any kind of agreement you want (even in writing) but getting things ENFORCED is another oyster all together. </p>

<p>I don't know that I would want to win this fight. If the kid did get to move in, she would have a hostile landlord that you know is a jerk. Life could be an ongoing struggle. </p>

<p>I think she has to go ahead and make other plans (I am not an attorney, but this just makes sense). </p>

<p>Meanwhile, she should do a detailed log of events -- now! Before she forgets! Write down every interaction that she can remember. Keep a record of when she tried to contact the landlord. </p>

<p>Next step is to contact an attorney. This is a trade off. The attorney may cost you $300 -- but will be a lot faster than legal aid. The landlord may crumble on the deposit with fierce calls/mail from the attorney (he may scoff at a phone call from legal aid). </p>

<p>Keep in mind that the landlord may be shixxy because he doesn't have the money and is having disasters in his own life. This doesn't excuse his behavior but it may explain why D can't get through to him or get her deposit back. </p>

<p>This is all a real life lesson. Not everyone on Earth is trustworthy. Just because people said one thing one day, doesn't mean things won't change -- for the worse. </p>

<p>Your D can be effective in warning other students if she sticks to the facts and is understated in her communications -- so, I would not have her post a long misery tale to her school community -- but she could write something like "I had a written contract with Mr. Z to rent an apartment on X Street. On Aug. 2 Mr. Z informed me that I could not move in and that the contract was canceled. I have been scrambling ever since and have not yet received my deposit back. I hope all students will be cautious in working with Mr. Z". Everything is truthful, nothing is slanderous. </p>

<p>One thing that has to be addressed is if there was anything that D did that made the landlord not want her as a tenant. If she smoked or had a pet when these were supposed to excluded, then he may have the right to cancel the next contract (and keep her deposit).</p>

<p>You can do small claims without an attorney- I agree this landlord you don't want to have to live with.
Small</a> Claims Court</p>

<p>Yes, she had a signed lease for the new house to move in on Aug 1st and he would not give her the key.
What to do at midnight on a Sat night when you find yourself homeless??
I believe he broke the law, as do the folks at the university but it can only be enforced by the courts.</p>

<p>She has info on Small Claims. She has to go through Legal aid first as she has no $$$ for an attorney. One reason to go through legal aid is to get the advice of an attorney before pursuing through small claims.
She is also going to file a complaint with the city.
My daughter is not speaking to anyone - even former roommates about this, until she contacts an attorney. </p>

<p>There were no lease violations in the other house, in fact, that afternoon the landlady raved to me how well they cleaned the house.<br>
We have been making notes, phone records and witnesses to converstaions. We are all prepared on that end.</p>

<p>I am just worried now about that other lease out there which I co-signed and if he can hold it against her (or me) somehow.</p>

<p>Does she have something in writing from the landlord stating he's breaking the lease? If not, she needs to insist that he provides it immediately along with a return of any deposits. </p>

<p>This landlord has demonstrated he's dishonest and not trustworthy so get as much in writing as possible and keep a written log with dates/times of any conversations that take place.</p>

<p>I hope legal aid can help with this.</p>

<p>All Real Estate law is local, so you do need at least some local advice on this. I would want to send a certified letter to the landlord documenting that he failed to provide the key as per the signed lease, and that he owes whatever the amount of the security deposit is, as well as any damages provided by law, reserving all rights, quickly. After this, any necessary suit can be filed.</p>

<p>A number of issues come to mind, which I can not answer, but can only suggest that you bring to your counsel. If a landlord fails to provide the key for the stated tenancy, is it a constructive eviction? If eviction is not done according to the contract (and the applicable local law), is the landlord liable for damages in excess of deposits paid? Does the failure to provide the key automatically terminate the lease?</p>

<p>In most jurisdictions, the courts are much more sympathetic to tenants than to landlords. From the facts that you have stated, it would seem that he does not have a legitimate basis for his actions.</p>

<p>There is nothing in writing from the landlord. He made a 30 second phone call and that was it.</p>

<p>good point on if failure to provide the key automatically terminates the lease. I will have her ask that.
It's all been crazy and not much time to pursue this with needing to find housing etc. To make matters worse she must leave on Monday (it was originally Friday) for a 3 week obligation with Uncle Sam. She starts school two days after she gets back.
Tomorrow is the move and she must sign another lease. I am a little nervous but probably Thursday she will go to Legal Aid and file a complaint.</p>

<p>Did he give a reason?</p>

<p>I can't discuss any specifics right now since she is seeking legal advice.</p>

<p>She went into town today to Legal Aid. Said they were really nice, took her application and told her she should have an attorney within 10 days. She did move and signed another lease. Right now she is just sitting tight and moving through the legal process.</p>

<p>document document document.</p>

<p>Ask yourself- what if landlord claims new unit was offered, but student changed mind? Can student PROVE otherwise?
Be able to document who did what, where, when etc.
Don't lose a case because you aren't prepared.</p>

<p>younghoss - yep, thanks.</p>

<p>Yes, she has witnesses to conversations, phone records and a journal.
She also has written communication with the landlord's daughter - as instructed by the landlord.<br>
She has witnesses who were there when she attempted to take possession on 8/1. Witnesses who saw him drive by the old house at 10 pm when she was moving out. She is fortunate that there were a lot of people around her.</p>

<p>One thing she discovered, chalk this up to lack of experience - last year she signed the lease and he never gave her a copy of it back with his signature. She needed it for something in the spring and only then realized it.
She was sure in May to get a copy of the lease back with all signatures.</p>

<p>"initially was told she could take possession on noon Sat, then 1 pm then 5 pm)
the landlord called and told her it was over. He would not contract with her."</p>

<p>Did she or did she not have a new lease signed by both parties?
If yes, then landlord is responsible for reasonable cost incurred by you D for not being to take posession of the premises and reason for termination of the lease. If D signed and Landlord did not sign, she has no lease.</p>

<p>"What to do at midnight on a Sat night when you find yourself homeless??"</p>

<p>I would stay there and get evicted. I don't think the Landlord can just throw the tenant out without proper eviction notice and court order.</p>

<p>If you have specific questions about the VA law or need advice about a dispute, you can call the Virginia Division of Consumer Protection at (804) 786-2042, or 1-800-552-9963. </p>

<p>momofthreeboys: "my 21 year old signed a lease that had a clause giving the landlord three months to return deposits." </p>

<p>Check the State/Local Law. Was that in Virginia?<br>
VA Law: When you move out, your landlord must return the deposit to you within 45 days of the end of your tenancy, regarless what is in the lease.</p>

<p>duplicate post</p>

<p>Just a Mom...</p>

<p>Is someone living in the house in question right now? If they are...be sure to document that. Photos, etc. Do it as close to now as possible so that the landlord can't say your D was a no show and he had to release. If it is occupied, does your D know who is living there or can she find out. It sure be cool if she could get a copy of that lease of that person because I suspect the landlord leased it for a higher $$ and your D paid the price.</p>