Will a verbal comment stand in court versus a written signed agreement?

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Will a verbal comment stand in court versus a written signed agreement?

We gave our tenants 60 days to move to be nice; we had a family was going to move in our apartment. They found an apartment early and wanted to move before the lease was up. They wanted their last month’s rent back and my husband said it might be doable without speaking to me. When I found out I told them no, they are leaving on their own accord. After such drama, I decided to meet them halfway without first seeing how they left the place. I told them I would give them 1/2 of the money back so we could be done with it. They said that wasn’t good enough and now I get a small claims letter. What do we do?

Asked on November 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Connecticut

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In most states a 60 day termination notice of a lease is more than enough notice if the lease is a month-to-month lease. If your former tenants wanted to end their lease with you early and you allowed them to do this, you are not entitled to keep their last month's payment for the full term of their lease that you allowed them to end early since you gave them the notice to terminate.

If you did not return the full amount of their security deposit within the statutory time absent deductions for repairs, you are required to return it to them as well as their last month's rent where they did not live in the rental for the full term.

Since your husband (an owner of the rental) said that the tenants could have their last month's rent back, then what he said controls even though you decided that the former tenants could have one half of it back.

The verbal comment could be taken into evidence by what your husband said to modify the written agreement (lease) after the written lease was entered into.


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