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Re-interpretation of lease without notice

Discussion in 'Rental Agreements & Subleases' started by StrayCatScribbler, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. StrayCatScribbler

    StrayCatScribbler Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I'm attempting to renew a one-year lease on an apartment in Oregon. When I originally signed the lease agreement, I was told that as long as I renewed the lease before it expired on April 30th, my rent would not be increased. If I failed to renew the lease before that date, I would roll over into a month-to-month tenancy and my rent would go up by 5%. I renewed the lease on time last year and rent only increased by $5. This year, I am attempting to renew the lease in the same time-frame and am being told that my rent will increase by 5% even though I have not allowed the lease to expire. There is a different property manager this year and she is claiming that this has always been company policy even though I know from experience that is not true.

    My lease agreement does not explicitly state that rent will not increase if I renew before expiration, but does say that rent can only be increased the day after the lease expires. I was told that this means that if the lease is never allowed to expire, rent cannot be increased. The new manager says that statement actually means rent increases cannot go into effect until the new lease activates regardless of when it is renewed. The words are still the same, but the meaning has apparently changed. Is she allowed to change the meaning? Is there anything I can do to enforce this statement under its original interpretation?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Do you have that statement in WRITING?

    Is that statement documented as a provision in your existing lease?

    If either answer is NO, what you were told means nothing.

    Your rent can be increased.

    You could also have chosen NOT to renew your lease.



    Anything told you that wasn't in writing is simply a promise.

    Promises can be withdrawn at any time.

    Anything written into your lease is a contractual commitment, such as, "If you renew this lease 30 days before the lease expires, your rent will NOT be increased."


    There you go, YOU have answered your own question, good for you.


    No, the words do NOT mean the same thing.

    If you are under a lease paying $300/month, that amount can't be increased LEGALLY before the lease expires.


    She can do many things.

    She isn't changing the lease terms.

    If you are unhappy, you are FREE to NOT renew the lease.

    You might NOT like that option, nevertheless, it does exist.


    There is NOTHING you can do legally to get your way.

    There are many things you could do illegally, but I suggest you obey all laws.
     
  3. StrayCatScribbler

    StrayCatScribbler Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for replying. I am planning on obeying all laws and probably will renew the lease. The money isn't the issue- I'm just trying to understand why the rules have suddenly changed. I guess this will always be a mystery.
     
  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Told by whom? Is what you were told consistent with the written terms of the lease? Apparently not.

    Then there you go.

    Told by whom?

    No. However, since you didn't quote anything from the lease, we have no way of knowing whether your interpretation or the things that some unknown person told you are accurate interpretations of what the lease says. What I can tell you is that no sane landlord would create a lease that allows the tenant to renew the lease in such a way that the rent can never increase. I am therefore doubtful that the things you were told are accurate.

    Short of suing? No.
     
  5. StrayCatScribbler

    StrayCatScribbler Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for your reply. I was told by the former on-site property manager. My building is owned and managed by a large corporation that employs hundreds of people. The corporation has not changed, but the on-site property manager in the office has changed.

    I can't say if the original renewal policy was accurately explained to me since I didn't get it in writing, but since it was applied to my previous renewal and no one ever contacted me to tell me that this was in error, I have no reason to believe that it wasn't. I do have documentation that when I previously renewed my lease, the rent amount only increased by 5 dollars rather than by 5 percent. But apparently this counts for nothing.

    Right now, I am mostly worried that the new interpretation of the renewal policy is not accurate either. It is also not in writing and the new property manager is refusing to answer any questions about it. I have no idea how to tell which interpretation is accurate, and you seem to be indicating that there is no way to discover this.

    Like I said, I enjoy living here and even with the increase I can still afford rent (for now), but I don't want to pay more if I don't have to.
     
  6. Zigner

    Zigner New Member

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    See...you're not actually "renewing" the lease, you're signing a new lease and that new lease is allowed to have new terms, such as higher rent. If you are in a rent-controlled area, any such increase may be limited by law, but other than that, it's pretty much fair game when a new lease is signed.
     
    army judge likes this.

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