Can a tenant be evicted if their lease has expired?

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Can a tenant be evicted if their lease has expired?

When I signed my lease the property representative wrote the wrong date down. The lease was documented as starting 3/5/09 and ended 3/28/09. In the lease it stated that once a lease ends the agreement would be from month-to-month unless a new lease was signed. I had 2 break-ins and I informed the office staff that I would be leaving. After 2 months I moved out and they filed for eviction. Is this legal?

Asked on November 18, 2010 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Apparently, the landlord does not believe that your lease was expired, in which case, if you are in breach of the lease (e.g. you stopped paying rent), the landlord is doing the correct thing by bringing an eviction action to regain possession. They may next sue you for the remaining rent due for the balance of the lease term.

What is likely critical is that, as you yourself admit, the "property representative wrote the wrong date down." Courts do not slavishly enforce contracts as written when they are clearly in error. If there is evidence that the actual end date contemplated by both parties when the lease was formed was other than what was written down--e.g. 3/28/10--the lease would be reformed to that date and enforced to that date. Since a less than one-month lease is highly irregular, assuming other evidence of a different, more typical term (e.g. correspondence, emails, an application for the apartment, etc.) existed, there's a good chance a court would ignore the erroneous date.


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