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Am I obligated to pay rent past the end of my lease?

Camarillo, CA |
Filed under: Real estate

My lease officially ends August 31st and I am leaving the apartment complex due to unsafe conditions and terrible management. I spoke with the office a few weeks ago telling them I was leaving at the end of the lease. On Sunday, I received a phone call from the office asking when I was coming in to sign a new lease. I went to explain again that I was leaving and was told I could not because I did not sign the official notice of vacation paperwork and that I am liable for rent 30 days from when I officially sign it. They claimed they are not required to tell me about this paperwork and refused to provide a copy that I could take and review before signing it. I was forced to sign it right there "promising" to pay the additional 2 weeks' rent. Is this legal? What do I do?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

No, you are not obligated to pay rent past the expiration of your lease if you already move out by that date.

Your obligations regarding providing notice of vacation should be set forth in your lease agreement. Apparently, there was no such provisions in your lease agreement.

You should not have been forced to sign anything requiring you to pay two additional weeks of rent. However, if you already signed it, then you are likely stuck with complying with it unless you can get it set aside under the legal defense of "duress".

I assume you are going to move out on August 31 as planned. Your options are to either pay the 2 additional weeks rent and move out on August 31 or not pay the additional 2 weeks and still move out on August 31 (and wait to see if the landlord/management company sue you for the two weeks-- at which time, you bring up the duress defense).

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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3 comments

Asker

Posted

The lease mentions 30 days notice in order to terminate the lease, but says nothing about their specific paperwork that they require to consider your notice official. I spoke with the office several times about leaving at the end of the lease and this paperwork was not once mentioned until it was too late to provide a full 30 days. If I mail the keys to the office via certified mail by 8/31, can I use this as proof I was not residing on the premises after the termination date on my lease?

Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Posted

Yes, you can send the keys via certified mail, return receipt requested, but you should not just send the keys. Send a cover letter with date indicating that you are returning the keys, and memoralizing your request for a pre-inspection that was declined. The letter will be good evidence to use in court.

Asker

Posted

whatever the lease says that you signed is usually what rules, even in a court of law, im sure your side of it will be different then theirs in court, court could probably end up more expensive then just paying it, especially if you lose and end up having to pay their attorney and court costs.

Posted

I highly recommend demanding a pre-move out inspection regarding your deposit. If they do not provide one you will then be entitled to your entire deposit. If they do provide one they have to document any "issues" with the place and give you a copy before you move. Just a bit more protection for you as you go through this period of moving...

I do not represent you or anyone out there in cyberspace unless we have a signed (by both parties) working agreement between us. I am only licensed to practice in CA and these are only my impressions related to your matter.

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1 comment

Asker

Posted

I did speak to them about a pre-move out inspection but they stated they would not do one any earlier than 2 weeks before their idea of my move out. (They said September 3 was earliest they will do it, knowing I'm moving before this, and that I do not need to be present.) Their whole reaction and business practices feel so fishy to me.

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