If I am a tenant, under what circumstances can I leave without giving a notice and still get my deposit back?

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If I am a tenant, under what circumstances can I leave without giving a notice and still get my deposit back?

I have been having a rodent problem for over a week now. My landlord has set traps (havaheart, snap traps and now glue traps) and we have not caught anything. This rodent is getting inside my apartment. It is not a mouse – its bigger. Either a rat or a squirrel. I feel unsafe and terrorized in my own home. I am looking for a new apartment and want to leave as soon as I find one. Under these circumstances, do I need to give a notice. I had a 6 month lease when I moved but it has since expired and I never signed a new lease. I have been there for over 2 years.

Asked on November 15, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If there is no written lease, then you should be a month-to-month tenant on an oral (sometimes called verbal) lease. If so, then you need to provide a month's notice--30 days--prior to ending you tenancy. For example, today is Nov. 15; between now and Nov. 30, you could provide notice to end your tenancy at the end of December to move out by or before Dec. 31--you'd just have to pay the Dec. rent.

Three things to watch for: check that your original written lease did not have any clause that it would automatically renew, in which case you're still  bound under it; that you did not exchange any correspondence with the landlord which could be taken as a written agreement to form a new lease under the same terms as the old lease, which again might then bind you; and also that once you give notice, you get out by the right date and do not holdover into the new month.


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