Bauer Property Management Complaint - Lease agreements - Apartment rentals

Review by gertch1951 on 2008-07-28
DICKINSON, NORTH DAKOTA -- I recently moved from Dickinson, ND. My problem is my landlord in Dickinson refuses to give me all my deposit back because he said I broke my lease.

Here is the facts:
I signed a lease with Bauer Property Management on February 1, 2008 for six months which would have been until July 31, 2008. On approximately June 15, 2008 I gave Bauer Property Management a notice of intent to vacate the apartment for July 31, 2008. I dated the intent to vacate letter June 29, 2008 to comply with their 30 day rule for notice. At the bottom of the notice I hand wrote a note saying that I would physically be moved out of the apartment by June 27, 2008 but will pay rent until July 31 if I had to. I also stated that if he wanted to rent the apartment early he could do so. (I had met [snip] at the apartment around June 6, 2008 and asked him what the procedures would be and if I would be able to save paying rent in July if I permitted him to rent the apartment early and he said it would; he just said to put that note at the bottom of the Intent to vacate notice.

[snip] called me around June 26, 2008 and stated that he had rented the apartment and that the new tenant would be moving in on June 27th at 5PM and asked if I would be out by then. I stated yes and made sure I had fully complied to the vacation process (apartment cleaned, carpets shampooed, etc).

My deposit was Five hundred dollars and he returned to me one hundred of it with a notice that I broke my lease and the four hundred was a penalty for breaking the lease.

I feel I did not break the lease by stating in the notice of intent to vacate the apartment that my intent was for July 31, 2008 which was a total of six months and was in total compliance to their guidelines.
Comments:23 Replies - Latest reply on 2009-11-01
Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-07-28:
You can't have it both ways. If you want your full deposit back, pay them the July rent like you agreed to do in the lease. If you want to avoid paying July rent, then you have broken the lease and they keep $400.00.

It appears the landlord told you you could avoid paying July rent by moving out early, and you did. But it was at the expense of paying the early termination fee.
Posted by jenjenn on 2008-07-28:
I think that's pretty sucky since the landlord was able to get somebody moved in so quickly!!!
Posted by yoke on 2008-07-28:
How can the landlord can charge the rent or for breaking the lease since they already had a new tenant in before his lease was up. The landlord was not out any money.
Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-07-28:
It doesn't really matter whether the landlord was out any money or not - the terms of the lease are what matters.

It works both ways, if they moved out three months early and the apartment wasn't re-rented right away, would you rather lose only the $400 fee or be forced to pay three months rent?
Posted by yoke on 2008-07-28:
The op was willing to pay the rent, if he had to. In reality the landlord had no right to rent the unit out if there was still a signed lease. The landlord can't have it both ways, he has to go by the terms of the lease also. Wonder what Judge Judy would say!
Posted by yoke on 2008-07-28:
Did you pay the entire month of June's rent? If so you are owed money from the landlord if new tenants moved in before July 1.
Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-07-28:
Sure the landlord can rent the unit before the lease is up. Once the tenant has "abandoned" the unit, the landlord has the right to enter it to clean it up, get it ready and re-rent it.

I imagine Judge Judy would tell them there's nothing to be done - you can't walk away from a six month lease after only five months and not expect to pay something.
Posted by yoke on 2008-07-28:
Hugh, the op never said he wasn't willing to pay the last month of rent. He asked if the unit was rented out would he have to pay and was told NO by the landlord. He did not abandoned the unit. He was there until the 26th and paid rent the month of June. He was not given the option to pay the month of July since the landlord already had another tenant in. Are you saying the landlord was entitled to rent from 2 tenants the month of July?
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-28:
If I read this right you didn't pay July's rent? If that's true then the $400 penalty is reasonable. I'm amazed $100 was returned. You're very fortunate.
Posted by yoke on 2008-07-28:
lois, so the landlord is entitled to rent from 2 different tenants for the same unit the month of July?
Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-07-28:
But the landlord only told him he would not have to pay the July rent, but he never told him he was going to waive the early termination fee.

And yes, I think the landlord is entitled to two rents for July - I am sure this landlord has absorbed plenty of months where a unit has sat empty after someone vacates early.

I have had rental property for some time and I use a standard rental agreement and I can tell you that I would handle it the same way this landlord did.

I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.
Posted by Slimjim on 2008-07-28:
From what I'm reading, the poster asked the landlord if he rents it to another starting in July, would the last month rent be due. The landlord said no, rented the apartment and then went back on his word and tapped the security deposit anyway. I too wonder what Judge Judy would say. Was the apartment really abandon? As long as the poster is paying rent, it's theirs to occupy or not. I think if it was worth it to him/her, poster could easily win this in small claims.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-28:
yoke -- Unless I read this wrong the landlord didn't collect rent from two tenants in July. The new tenant payed July's rent while the OP didn't pay July's rent but rather paid a $400 penalty for early lease termination. I'm assuming the rent was probably higher than $400 so in my book the OP came out money ahead.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-28:
slim -- I used to have a couple of rent houses and pretty sure you've owned a few yourself. I used a standard lease which clearly stated the deposit would be forfeited upon early termination of the lease.

In this case the OP had a choice to make. Fulfill the terms of the lease by paying July's rent or pay the penalty for terminating the lease. I don't see where the OP has a legal case here.
Posted by yoke on 2008-07-28:
This is how I see it. The op paid the month of June, lived there until June 26th. The new tenant moved in on June 27th, even though the op was paid up through the month of June. Legaly the op had until June 30 to stay in the unit. Once the landlord allowed the new tenant to move into the unit the lease between the OP and landlord was null and void. The landlord is the one who breached the contract, not the op. By the landlord expecting the op to pay July's rent when there is already another tenant in the unit is absurd. Had the op paid the month of July the landlord would have gotten paid 2x for the same unit.
Posted by yoke on 2008-07-28:
lois, the landlord had NO right to rent the unit during the month of June. The OP had paid rent that month. The unit was never abandoned, there was a rent paying person in the unit.
Posted by DigitalCommando on 2008-07-28:
"if I would be able to save paying rent in July if I permitted him to rent the apartment early and he said it would; he just said to put that note at the bottom of the Intent to vacate notice." .....Putting that note on the bottom is useless. Any change in lease terms must be signed by both parties (this was not). Had this been done, he would not have had this problem especially if the revised lease clearly spelled out the terms of the deposit return under the new agreement.
Posted by yoke on 2008-07-28:
The landlord also did a change in the lease by renting the until out before the lease was up. How can a landlord have 2 active leases with 2 different people on the same unit?
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-28:
The former tenant quit tenancy 4 days early, failed to pay July rent and thereby broke the contract. The tenant, in the note, sought a prorata agreement on the July rent. The landlord was not obligated to this. The landlord could have enforced payment of the July rent, but only kept $400 of the deposit in lieu of rent. If the rent was as little as $500/mo, the angry tenant saved $100. Sounds like a decent landlord to me. BA Hugh!
Posted by yoke on 2008-07-28:
IMO, once the landlord rented out the unit the contract was null and void. The landlord even asked for the tenant to move out before the end of the month in which he paid. The landlord should have told the op that he was still obligated to July's rent, even though he had another tenant in the unit. What would the landlord have done if the op said on June 26th he would not be out until July 31st if he was obligated to July's rent? Would any of you pay a months rent if you were not able to have access to the unit? I get that the op did not pay July's rent, but by paying July's rent he should have been able to have full access to the unit, which he would not. The landlord jumped the gun and rented a unit out that was still rented until July 31. The landlord still had a lease with the op that the unit was his until July 31, the lease did not say until June 26. If I were the tenant I would go to housing court.
Posted by gertch1951 on 2009-01-29:
Yes I did pay all of Junes rent and yes he had the apt rented before July 1 and yes the new tennant moved in June 27!!
Posted by gertch1951 on 2009-01-29:
Oh and by the way; I did have the apt cleaned and I did everything like the lease agreement said....I did not abandon the apartment.
Posted by PROPERTYDIVA on 2009-11-01:
I think what you are all missing the fact that you pay rent in arrears. This means that unlike OWNING a home where you pay for the month you have lived there, you pay for the month that you are going to live there in advance. Not sure this is the issue...however, if a person moves out on say...Jan 31 and have paid for their Jan payment of rent on the 1st of Jan...then they own NOTHING for the month of Feb. If indeed, they paid the landlord while moving out another partial or whole months rent...then, that is just ridiculou. ALWAYS when you rent, you pay for the month coming up. When you sign the lease and before you move pay rent for the following month. How could this person have known that she did not owe but a portion of the rent if she had already paid the rent for the month on the 1st? Sorry confused. You don't end your lease in June and pay for July...if the lease is over and done with.

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