I need legal advice on my lease :( | The Tenants' Voice
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I need legal advice on my lease :(

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382 views 1 replies latest reply: 10 November 2016

So It was my first time signing a lease- I’m young and stupid and impolsive! I met this girl on Craigslist who was pretty much subletting out their little room until the new lease was up and once it was I could decide to stay or go, I just, you know, had to sign the year long lease if I chose to stay. we got along really well, became really great friends to the point that we kind of feel like family but in the last few months (about 4 months after signing the lease) we stumbled upon a few hiccups and well, the honeymoon faze I guess went away. it occured to me how stupid and reckless I was to sign the lease-

*the landlords (who I’ve met twice in the 6 months I’ve been living here and have talked to litterally five times, four of those time were me contacting them and one for them to ask for my pet deposit) never went through a Conditions checklist with me, something I’d asked my roommate about and she just kinda shrugged and recently told me they didn’t need to. the place has alot going against it, the lock on our sliding glass door doesn’t work, it’s fairly easy to get into my window as it doesn’t lock at all, the carpet is so warn and spotted with past tenants pets I’m pretty sure they’ll try to pin it on my dog even though they were there before he even got there, the floor in the kitchen is uneven because the refirdgerator is causeing water damage, the mirror on my closet is broken at the bottom, the shower curtan rod is broken/looks as though it’s going to fall off in my personal bathroom, the fan in that same bathroom doesn’t work very well either, we have missing fire alarms and some of the electrical outlets have tape over them saying “don’t use”. these are all things that happened before I moved in but I don’t think that’ll matter because I didn’t get to have that in writing. in the lease it says that the first $100 of any repairs will be paid by the tenants, like is that legal?

*I didn’t get to actually read the “final copy” of the lease until two weeks before we needed to sign it or, as my roommate claimed, we’d be kicked out. I teld her I wanted to get a second oppinion and she came back with a “well my sister talked to them and they said we shouldn’t be scared of the lease.” because apparently her sister is friends with our landlords which means nothing to me but I still said “yeah, no, I need this explained to me, it sounds like a trap” so she wrote back to our landlords who wrote back that they would come over from their home on the other side of Washington state to sit down and go through it. that never happened, it was down to the last week and we had the landlords calling us every day asking if we signed the lease so yeah, I was stupid and did as I was told.

*I later found out after I moved in that my roommmate wasn’t supposed to have subletted that room to me, like if the LL’s found out I’d be fined $500 and served an eviction notice o.o I mean we’d waited until after my Background check went through but I still kind of think I’d be in deep trouble if they discovered that.

*my roommate’s boyfriend (Mr.wonderful) was staying illigally as well. at the beginning I didn’t care to much becuause he worked out of town and was only staying on the weekends. that changed though about two months into the lease when he lost his job and at that point both he and my roommate were relying on his unimployment and her monthly childsupport checks to pay the utilities and rent. it didn’t occure to me until he actually was staying full time how very difficult he was to live with. he doesn’t clean up after himself, he drinks often, smokes pot and is generally a jerk most days to his girlfriend. I tried to stay out of it but it’s kind of hard to ignore someone who you’re living with. at one point my roommate had had enough and kicked him out which lead to her and her two kids locking themselves with me in my room with him banging on my door for an hour until my roommate called the cops. they got him on an unpaid ticket, he was was in jail for about a week. during that week my roommate took her kids to her parents for a weekend to “get away” and came back without them and sat me down and told me she was breaking the lease and she was so sorry. 

I felt sorry for her, I mean he was a jerk and she really loved him but damn, I couldn’t affor $1300 on my own. we agreed she’d stay until we could find a roommate which brings us back to Mr.Wonderful who got out and they got back together the moment they saw each other (she claims he burst into tears when he saw her and claimed he had a drinking issue, I say it’s a personality issue really) the plan was she was still going to move out but he’d be her “replacement”- I agreed to this as long as he got a freaking job. the plans changed yet again within a week, she brought the kids home and we were back to being one happy little family… which in a way was trueish, I get along well with my roommate and the kids and even Mr.W has his moments but I mean, if she was willing to throw me under the bus because of a breakup who’s to say she wouldn’t again when they inevitable break up again. I’ve kind of had this underlaying paranoia that they’ll have another big one and I’ll inevatiably get stuck with the entire rent which has kind of caused my depression to have flare ups since then, I haven’t been the funnest person to be lately.

*Roommate before I moved in told me she’d deal with the landlords- that broken lock I said earlier was something she brought up to them and they said “well to fix it we’d have to replace the door, here’s a pole instead” which I called BS on cause legally they’re supposed to make sure we have locks. the thing is though Roommate wasn’t keeping records of her conversations with LL’s so I’m pretty sure if we go to someone about this they’ll say soemthing along the lines of “you’ve been neglagent for not addressing the issue sooner” because we have no proof we talked to them at all about anything since the text messages roommate was sending to our LL are nonexistant now that she got a new phone. anytime she brings these things up to the LL I’m not included in the conversation, the LL’s haven;t said more then ten words to me actually and those ten words were pretty much “you got that pet deposit” and yeah, I get it, ll’s generally aren’t going to be your friends but at least include me in on these things since I’m on the freaking lease.

I’m pretty sure I’m the biggest idiot for signing this lease and I get I’m an adult who’s responcable for their own actions but does anyone have any advice, I don’t make enough money to pay for the hefty fine I have a feeling they’ll expect me to pay at the end of the lease and to break the lease it’s $2600 plue the rest of the months I have left (my lease ends at the end of June) I think I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life and I just really need someone to help me through it.

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In the lease it says that the first $100 of any repairs will be paid by the tenants, like is that legal? – No, the landlord is responsible for repairs and maintenance, unless it’s a result from the tenant’s activity – bad care, negligence, direct damage, etc. 

*I later found out after I moved in that my roommmate wasn’t supposed to have subletted that room to me, like if the LL’s found out I’d be fined $500 and served an eviction notice – I’m pretty sure you can’t get fined financially by your landlord, but you can get evicted – both of you. Subletting without permission or against explicit prohibition is as serious a breach of the tenancy agreement as there is. 

However, I got that you’re now ON a lease with your landlord, so this old subletting thing should be able to pass under the radar. 

Unfortunately, you can’t just break the lease with the landlord. Not without paying anyway. Maybe some negotiation allows you to find a replacement tenant for yourself and quit, but this is the best case scenario. 

Instead, you need to work on your situation at home and get your roommate, her boyfriend and their children in check, as it’s your main issue about living in the property. 

You should also take stronger action about being included in the conversations with your landlord or even talk to them yourself. Remember that you’re an equal tenant and have the same rights as your roommate does. 

If you fail to agree to some degree of cooperation and co-existing, you may consider contacting the landlord and referring the issue up to them. I’m sure they are not going to like a full family being cramped with another tenant and their pet in their small property. Overcrowding seriously accelerates the natural deterioration of every property and it’s contents, so your landlord has a financial motive to not allow so much people in. 

As far as the repairs go, if you have no trace of your communication with the landlord, there is nothing you can provide in your defense. Try contacting them trough email, as it’s a reliable way to manage and record the discussions you’re having.

Hope this helps. 


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