Let me tell you a little story: When I got home from work yesterday, I had some stuff waiting for me under the door to my apartment. This is, unfailingly, how my landlord notifies the tenants in my building (or hell, I guess how landlords notify tenants in any building) of future events. Two little items had been slipped through the crack on this particular day.
The first was a bright orange sheet that stated that starting on August 1, the late fees and month-to-month fees were going to go up by $15 per month. I paid attention to this, because my lease had run out on April 1 and since then I have been paying an extra $35 every month for a month-to-month lease, so that when the time was right I could pick up and move closer to work. Ultimately, not a huge deal, and definitely something I can work with until I find a place.
The second piece was in an envelope with my apartment number on it, and was also related to the fee increases, but this one was directly contradictory to the first piece of information. It informed me that my rent was being increased, to x amount per month. The problem is that instead of the normal $15 increase, this represented a $45 per month increase. Obviously, somebody is presenting me with conflicting information.
I was going to call them today and it slipped my mind, but when I got home after work today I remembered and called them to leave a message. But Andrew, you ask. What is it that you’re really getting at? Is there something more to what you’re telling us?
Well, dear reader, there indeed is more to this. Here’s the crux of what I’m getting at: At the bottom of this second piece of paper, I was informed that I could opt to sign a new one-year lease at a lower cost. Great, right? Well, obviously not, since, as I mentioned earlier, I’m not interested in staying here for an additional year. I like the apartment and all, but I just can’t afford the costs of living fifty-plus miles from work. However, there were no options whatsoever for opting out of this increase in prices.
No, I don’t mean opting out in the sense that I just won’t pay the extra cost. What I mean is that there was nothing anywhere that explained that if I don’t agree to the increase in price, I’m allowed to move out. You see, what I’m getting at is that as my current month-to-month agreement with my landlord stands, I’m required to give 45 days’ notice prior to moving out, or I get fined $100 from my landlord for “breaking the lease”. (Yes, there technically is no lease on a month-to-month, but it’s there in the lease agreement nonetheless.) However, if you look at what they told me, these new prices take effect one month from now. That’s 30 days, for those not able to keep score. So, in other words, if I want to move out and not pay the additional $45, they’ll fine me $100?
How is that even legal? How is it that a landlord can unilaterally change a lease agreement and not supply a fair means of getting out of that? I’m required to give them forty-five days’ notice but they only have to give me thirty?
Tell me something: What brownnosing piece of shit lobbyist for the property management industry got that law enacted?
I guess in the long run it’s better for me, because this is probably going to force me to find a new place. I’ll probably eat the $100 fine because I’ll make it up in saved gas costs in the first couple or three months anyway.