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Has my landlay violated me? Is my lease now null and vo

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Has my landlay violated me? Is my lease now null and vo

Postby darthsmozers » Thu Jan 09, 2003 4:50 pm

Hi all,
I have a one year lease with my landlady. I am a college student living off campus. My "apartment" is a bedroom in a small "apartment suite" which is part of the landlady's house, but sealed off from the main house. I have an opportunity to move onto campus, and asked my landlady about it. She told me if I "find someone nice" to take my place and continue my lease through the end of its year (May 31st), I could vacate the apartment with no charge.

The first possible replacement I brought in loved the place, but upon meeting the landlady might have changed her mind. The landlady went through every possible negativity about the place (I assume so she can keep me as the tenant and not have to worry about switching, despite her early approval.)

My second possible replacement was an international student who's mother and grandmother (who live IN the USA, and IN the state of Viginia, where I am). They wanted the place and wanted to sign the lease at 8pm yesterday. Upon calling my landlady to ask if she'd be around with a copy of the lease, she refused to allow "a foreigner" to rent the apartment. She went into "I don't have time to teach anyone our laws and our cultures", and "first its one person, then they'll have more people sleeping on the floor", etc. In short, this pissed me off because this was such racial discrimination! My father couldn't reason with her, either, and it was up to us to call this family back and tell them why they couldn't sign the lease. Not only that, but on the phone with my father she even admitted she didn't like "the way the first girl looked" (she had a few extra piercings), and gave even more reasons why she wouldn't let this Asian girl from overseas, whose family is from the local area, sign the lease. She also admitted she'd prefer a girl who "looks like she's from Nebraska" to be the replacement tenant. what does that mean? it means she'd prefer someone like myself or my suitemate: a white, blonde or brunette, wholesome, American Pie girl. How rude!

She refused to meet with this family, racially discriminated against the daughter whom she'd never met, and judged the first girl based on looks. When we argued she gave us permission without guidelines to fine a replacement, and we've spent a few hundred dollars on advertising for a replacement, she said it wasn't her problem."

My question is this: The Fair Housing Act says private homeowners may choose whomever they'd like to be their tenants as long as they do not run a discriminatory ad. So, this would make her OK. But, admitting she's looking for a "certain type of girl" and giving her specifics, wouldn't that be the same as running a discriminatory ad? I mean, this is crazy! She made me the discriminatory party because I had the job of turning this family away because I'm the one trying to find a replacement, not the landlady. Does any of this make grounds for my lease with her being null and void?? She discriminated against my candidates, made me the "bad guy", and is making this impossible for me to find a replacement when she gave me permission to do so, despite my hundreds of dollars worth of advertizing and downpayments for my possible on-campus home.

She has also come into our "apartment suite" when neither my suitemate or I were not home to close/open airvents, etc. And, children living in her house have come into our apartment before, despite her saying the one door between the house and the apartment is blocked by a large bookcase...

But, not only these minor things: the issue with the discrimination:

Does anything here make my lease with her null and void so I may cease payment to her and get out of there? This is disgusting...

Someone please email me and help: Jsmo2283@yahoo.com

:(
darthsmozers
 
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Re: Has my landlay violated me? Is my lease now null and vo

Postby mjr203 » Thu Jan 09, 2003 6:07 pm

this is the wrong place for this message
most Landlords suck it.
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Re: Has my landlay violated me? Is my lease now null and vo

Postby darthsmozers » Thu Jan 09, 2003 6:10 pm

then tell me where to go.
darthsmozers
 
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Re: Has my landlay violated me? Is my lease now null and vo

Postby Phil Cohen » Fri Jan 10, 2003 10:59 am

Seems like a valid question--this fellow is a tenant, after all.
Unfortunately I am not sure how to answer it. Yes, she is engaged in blatant racial discrimination, and it sounds to me like she unreasonably refused your sublease efforts. That could be of great help in the event that you have to vacate and are sued. But no, your lease is not null and void because she may have violated federal law.
Keep in mind that I am a tenant. Not a lawyer!!!!!
Phil Cohen
 
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Re: Has my landlay violated me? Is my lease now null and vo

Postby mjr203 » Fri Jan 10, 2003 12:28 pm

There is an out of state forum...

anyhow, I am not sure if a third-party to racial discrimination in housing can bring a case to the attention of the Equal Opportunity federal groups.

I think it would help your case if you got letters from the attempted tenants about their treatment by the LLady and also to document her comments to you on paper for easy reference if you end up in Court at some future point.

Beyond that I suppose you'll either have to

a) break the lease and use the above and your own testimony as a positive defense against your not assigning the apartment

or

b) find an acceptable tenant

In either case, I am a firm believer in karma. This woman will get hers sooner or later.

Good luck

Pointer out
most Landlords suck it.
mjr203
 
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Re: Has my landlay violated me? Is my lease now null and vo

Postby Phil Cohen » Sat Jan 11, 2003 2:05 pm

oops--didn't notice about the guy not being in NY. Yup, he did post in the wrong place. It may well be that the laws in Virginia require the landlord to mitigate damages when the tenant breaks the lease. If so, the landlord turning down tenants would work against her.
Keep in mind that I am a tenant. Not a lawyer!!!!!
Phil Cohen
 
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Re: Has my landlay violated me? Is my lease now null and vo

Postby consigliere » Sat Jan 11, 2003 6:00 pm

As I read the relevant portions of the Fair Housing Act, an owner who lives in a house with four or fewer units can run a non-discriminatory ad to rent a unit in the house, but can then discriminate in choosing a tenant.
 
However, it's not clear whether the poster lives in a separate house in which the owner doesn't live. If so, the exemption may not apply.
 
And as also been pointed out, unless your lease gives you the right to assign the lease or sublet the unit, you have no right to assign or sublet.
 
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