My boyfriend and I moved in to an apartment in July with no lease. Our landlord said we did not need to sign one. Over the past few months we have

Asked by Ashley, Milton, VT Mon Nov 23, 2009

encountered some issues. We do no have carbon monoxide detectors (which are required by law in Vermont) and our heating system was not hooked up properly. The vent was not connected and all the fumes were coming inside! We have found another place to move and have only given our landlord 2 weeks notice, which I think it still fair under these circumstances, and he will not return our security deposit. There is no damage to the house (in fact, it looks better than before we moved in) and we have always paid our rent "way before on time!" Can he do this?

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Pat Settar’s answer
Pat Settar, Agent, Mullica Hill, NJ
Tue Nov 24, 2009
This is known as a "hand shake" lease. I have known some investor/landlords who have done this. I really do not know why a landlord or tenant would not want to sign a lease. I was told by this landlord that he wanted the flexibility to "unload" the tenant if he was not working out. However, based on the landlord tenant laws I believe that your "lack of written lease" indicates an assumed lease which would mean you have to give 30days written notice to vacate. If you did not have a carbon monoxide detector in place I would assume your lazy landlord did not get a certificate of occupancy either. I would put a letter to vacate in writing and send it certified receipt requested. Please remember to sign a lease and always make a paper trail in the future! Good luck.
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Elaine Heged…, Agent, Depew, NY
Mon Nov 23, 2009
If I were you, I would check with City Hall. They will be able to give you accurate advice with regards to the laws and ordinances that may affect you. The apartment owner may have violated laws by not having CO2 detectors, and not having a properly working heating system. From a personal stand point, and as a rental property owner myself, If you are leaving the property in the same or better condition than when you arrived, I would be giving you back your security deposit. However, when you noticed that there were problems, you should have notified him immediately.
I strongly suggest that when you move into your new place that you take pictures before you move in, so that when you move out, and want your security deposit returned, you will have proof of what the place looked like.
I wish you luck, and hope this has helped you.
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