If we are being forced to vacate due to an illegal rental, are we required to pay future rent since we will need this money to move?

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If we are being forced to vacate due to an illegal rental, are we required to pay future rent since we will need this money to move?

Our landlord rented us a (mobile home) 3 months ago. We have paid our rent on time and in full. Our landlord informed us that she received a letter from the co-op which manages the mobile home park; she told us that due to some by-law she is not allowed to rent the home. Our landlord told us that we could buy the home or we had 60 days to get out. We have not received any notice to vacate other than her phone call. We even signed a 6 month lease with our landlord which seems to serve no good.

Asked on February 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the rental is illegal then that says it all.  Illegal subject matters of contracts are generally unenforceable in Court.  In other words, if it is illegal for the landlord to lease the space to you then it is illegal for you to live in the space. The contract between you - the lease - is both "void" and "voidable."  If the unit is truly illegal then some state laws limit the liability of the landlord to evicting the tenant and not to collecting unpaid rent.  This is true in California I know..  As for your sate, it may be best for you to seek help from an attorney on the matter.  The manner in which she advised you of the "eviction" - notice - is also suspect.  I am also not convinced that the rental is genuinely "illegal" under the law just not permitted by the co-op.  Get help.  Maybe you can make a good deal for yourself.  Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

While you may wish to consult with an attorney with landlord-tenant (esp. vis-a-vis mobile homes) experience, who can evaluate all the specifics of your situation, you might not have much recourse. The problem is, illegal contracts or leases are not enforceable, so if the landlord truly does not have the right to rent to you, you can't force him to. What you may be able to do--and might want to discuss with a lawyer--is that if you incur additional costs because the landlord got you to sign an illegal rental (e.g. moving costs; costs to paint or renovate; etc.), you may be able to recover those costs from the landlord. You  should also get your full security deposit back, as long as you did not damage the landlord's property; should get back any application fee; and should get back any rent you paid in advance for days you won't be there.


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