My rent was renewed automatically for an additional year

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My rent was renewed automatically for an additional year

I recently purchased a house and am planning on moving out in June. In my lease contract it states I had to inform my landlord 2 months prior to the end of the original contract, and did so one day after the set deadline. The landlord has automatically renewed my contract and is forcing me to pay rent for the next year, unless I find another renter. Can they do this? It was only one day after the deadline. I really cannot afford to be paying rent on top of my mortgage until I can find another renter.

Asked on May 9, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

LAR, Member CA State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

According to the Web site provided http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=ocaterminal&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Consumer&L2=Housing+Information&L3=Tenant+%26+Landlord&sid=Eoca&b=terminalcontent&f=tenants_rights_and_responsibilities&csid=Eoca, your landlord has obligations:

Types of tenancy

Your legal rights may vary depending on what type of tenancy you have.

A Tenant with a Lease is one who signs a lease to rent a particular apartment for a specified period of time. Under this tenancy, the landlord cannot increase your rent until the end of the lease, and cannot attempt to evict you before the end of your lease, unless you violate the lease agreement. You are legally obligated to pay your rent until the end of the lease. However, if you need or choose to move out before the end of the lease, in most circumstances the landlord has a duty to mitigate his/her loss by looking for another tenant to replace you.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Yup, you have certain responsibilities and it is not your landlord's problem.  So, you need to hurry up and find another renter your landlord will agree to because a) your landlord doesn't want to allow you to surrender the lease and b) you will be liable for monthly rent until a new renter is found.

So, in essence, just because you bought a house doesn't excuse you from your obligations.  In terms of the two months though, not sure if that is legal but the fact you didn't inform your landlord until after your year was up that you didn't plan on renewing is your issue not his. 

http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=ocaterminal&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Consumer&L2=Housing+Information&L3=Tenant+%26+Landlord&sid=Eoca&b=terminalcontent&f=tenants_rights_and_responsibilities&csid=Eoca

Contact the Massachusetts Consumers Affairs Division concerning a tenancy at will and automatic renewals.

LAR, Member CA State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Technically, yes.  A contract is a contract.  First question:  did you inform the landlord in the manner that the lease specifies you are to give notice?  If the lease says you must give written notice in a certain manner and you told the landlord verbally, then you never gave proper notice under the lease terms.  The second point to review is the lease term of 2 months - is it calendar days - does the lease only count business days, in which case you could be credited for any holidays that fell within that 2 month period.  Your landlord obviously does not want to lose your tenancy in this market, but you should not roll over.  Your landlord has the obligation in this instance to mitigate damages by seeking to find another tenant so as not to stick you with the entire term's rent.  You do not have the obligation to find another renter and if the landlord refuses to do what s/he is legally required to, whatever you might be responsible for will be diminished by the landlord's inaction, in the event the landlord sues you for the additional lease term. 


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