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Did we have a lease extension via email, and is this a breach of lease based on retaliation?

Ventura, CA |

We signed our lease in Feb 2012, the guest bathroom had flooding issue prior. Owner asked if we were willing to stay an extra year he'd be willing to remodel the guest bathroom.

We agreed with the owner via email to extend our lease to Feb 2014. We verified the extension agreement with the property manager via email, at which time she checked that we wanted the lease extended from Feb. 2013 versus from the point of that email in August, then replied in the affirmative.

Come Sept., the toilet's flooded into the unit below. The owner demanded we pay half, we declined as the insurance company agreed we weren't at fault. Now we're told the owner is exploring his options with the unit and our lease will not be renewed – we can stay month-to-month as long as we show the place!?!

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

No, not necessarily. You are most likely considered a month to month tenant if you do not have a signed lease renewal or lease amendment. As such, the landlord can terminate your month to month tenancy by giving you a 30 or 60 day notice of termination.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

But we currently have a signed lease (until Feb) and we agreed with the owner via email to extend our lease to Feb 2014?

Asker

Posted

We asked the property manager if we needed to sign anything, but she never responded. Instead we just have the emails with both of them confirming to let us stay another year, which I thought would be covered under the Uniform Eletronic Transactions Act? Specially since we always used email to communicate with both the landlord and property manager, to the point the neither would give us their cell phone numbers.

Posted

I will express one of my rare disagreements with Mr. Chen. Your email exchange very likely constituted a writing sufficient to extend your lease. Did you have any sort of signature in the email? A signature need not be a formal signature line; generally putting your name or initials at the end of the email will suffice. Did you discuss signing an extension, or did you just agree to extend?

I would look at your email correspondence to determine whether it was enough for a lease extension.

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1 found this helpful

2 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response. The Owner didn't put his initials or a name, but he did include a confidentiality notice on the bottom of each of his emails. The Property Manager either put her name or a full signature on her emails. I discussed signing an extension for one year with the Owner. He agreed and told me to contact the Property Manager. I contacted the Property Manager and she replied asking the exact date I wanted the new lease to end. I told her one year from when the current lease ended and she sent me an email response saying that was okay.

James Carl Eschen III

James Carl Eschen III

Posted

At this point, whether you agreed to an extension or only agreed that you would later sign an extension agreement is not clear. A lawyer would have to look at the emails themselves. Even then, whether you intended your emails to be legally binding would be ambiguous.

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