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Payment date lease question - was never prorated

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Payment date lease question - was never prorated

Postby Tenant88 » Wed Feb 03, 2021 4:24 pm

My lease started on the 4th of the first month. It ends on the 3rd of the last month.

My landlord agreed to let me out of my lease early on February 28th.

I never had any month prorated. On every payment I made I put a note it was for the 4th - 3rd of the following month.

The contract states 'rent is due on the 1st of the month'.

For February, I prorated the month since I was already paid through the 3rd. He is claiming this is "unacceptable and a breach of my lease".

He is telling me I will receive fees if I do not pay the remaining balance by tomorrow.

Does he have a case?

Technically, I see this as I am paid through the end of February, and the earliest he could try to tack on a late fee would be sometime in March.
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Re: Payment date lease question - was never prorated

Postby TenantNet » Wed Feb 03, 2021 7:35 pm

Assuming that you are not RS. Also assuming you are not in any arrears, real or landlord-invented.

You say you earmarked your payments for the 4th to the 3rd of each month on the check by writing that on the check itself. In many cases LLs will take current payments and apply them to past arrears, if any. There might even be language in your lease for that.

But if you earmark payments, then they have to apply it to the month (in your case dates) you have specified. There are many court decisions that cite this.

But the lease presents a contradiction requiring payment by the first. Some LLs get sticky about this, but others don't hold to the actual date. Even so, whether or not they received it (or if it was mailed) on the 1st, it's applied to the 4th-3rd if you have specified that on the check.

Of course the LL is wrong in our opinion.

Here's what I would do (and remember this is not legal advice ... just what I would do). I would cancel the check if mailed or not send it if not mailed. Remember, they have at least one month security deposit and they will take any fees out of that or not return it at all. Assuming there are no physical damages (you are still responsible for those beyond normal wear and tear), any rent due for the last month would be covered by the deposit.

Not knowing what your rent is, I can't say it the four days is significant or not. You could pay a prorated amount (in this case 24 days), but they still have your deposit and will not pause in keeping that. Many deposit situations are clear if you choose to go to small claims court, but here it gets a bit crazy. Plus, the courts are closed for the time being.
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Re: Payment date lease question - was never prorated

Postby Tenant88 » Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:50 pm

Thanks for your response. And that is a good plan.

I have pre-paid every rent payment 1 week or more before the due date. Every payment was sent to the Landlord VIA a wire transfer, which I then always sent the confirmation page and explained what dates it was for.

Additionally, I have recordings where the landlord offered me out of the lease on February 28th (he does not know this). I also sent a follow up email explaining what we just talked about after the phone call.

My plan is too pay nothing more to the landlord (I already paid February). If the landlord does not return the security deposit, I will sue for twice the amount in small claims court.

He will argue that he did not agree to the February 28th termination. I believe my evidence will be stronger, but wanted to know how a judge would look at the signed and executed lease as it relates to the payment due date and not having any proration.

Upon move in I made pictures and videos of the apartment and sent to the landlord. The landlord did not appreciate this to say the least. His exact word were "stop sending me pictures of stupid shit". I will be leaving in the same condition as move in.

From what I understand, it is more likely than not, once I show all payment receipts to a judge in small claims courts, that they would consider February paid in full?
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Re: Payment date lease question - was never prorated

Postby TenantNet » Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:48 pm

I don't know if you can sue for twice the amount of the security. Did you see that anywhere? Court, even small claims court, is a royal pain. And during COVID it will be worse. Avoid that if you can. Do not think you can just show things to a judge. It's not like that.

You can also go to the Attorney General's office.

But things get sticky when you consider the early lease release date and prorated amount (if that's what you sent). And it could get worse if the LL invents physical damages to the unit.

Take many photos of everything - including blank walls and ask the LL for a walk through. Make sure you return the keys and get a dated receipt for that. Also good to have a witness to all that.

You say above you already paid February. Was that prorated or not? If paid through March 3rd, then what's the issue?
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Re: Payment date lease question - was never prorated

Postby Tenant88 » Thu Feb 04, 2021 4:07 pm

I thought I read somewhere if the LL does not give a list of deductions, or return the security deposit you could file suit for twice the damages. I may be mistaken.

Yes, good advice on the photos. I like the recommendation of a walk through.

The issue is I terminated my lease early. According to the lease when exercising this option, I am responsible until March 31st.

When I spoke with him on the phone (30 days ago), he was talking about his own issues and wanting to move in when I moved out. We agreed on February 28th, and I told him I would be out sooner if I could (I have this recorded).

I already had the first 3 days of February paid back in December. Due to the verbal agreement and contract language "rent is due on the first of the month", I made a prorated payment (remaining 25 days in the month). He did not like this, and is claiming my current payment should of been to March 3rd and is threatening late fees and other actions if not paid my tomorrow. I would like to also note the lease gives a 10 day grace period for rent payments (tomorrow is the 5th).

Personally, I think he is just blowing smoke to try to get more money from me, before I move out.
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Re: Payment date lease question - was never prorated

Postby TenantNet » Thu Feb 04, 2021 4:13 pm

Please, no need to quote the prior message completely; it's a waste of hard drive space.
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