Change lease terms on a lease renewal!

Asked by Alexstringer, Brooklyn, OH Tue Oct 7, 2008

We've been in the same apt for 4 years.
My landlord renewed our lease from a 1 year to a 2 year lease but want us to sign an additional list of restrictions that did not appear in our past lease. Can he do that?

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Dp2, , Virginia
Wed Oct 8, 2008
Try to negotiate. You have a few other options:
1) try crossing out and initialing the terms and clauses you don't like, and signing that copy of the lease
2) get a realtor, specialized in representing tenants, to help you counter with an addendum that overrides the lease agreement, eliminates the terms you dislike, and requires the owner to pay the agent's fee.
3) threaten to walk (and follow through if the owner isn't flexible).

Keep in mind, it's still a buyer's market in most places. This means more people, who are in the position to buy, and who have the desire to buy, will buy. This has the net effect of decreasing the supply of renters, and increasing the landlords' demand for renters. You can use this fact to your advantage in your negotiations.

Additionally, if you were to use a tenant realtor to help you with your negotiations, then you'd also be subtly informing your landlord that you're exploring your options. Who knows, . . . right now, you might be able to negotiate with another landlord (for another apt) to pay or split your moving costs--provided you're willing to sign a 2-year lease with him/her.

Furthermore, since you've already rented this apt for 4 years (using 1 year leases), you can probably assume--reading inbetween the lines--your landlord is being negatively affected by this market (and is trying as hard as s/he can to retain tenants). If s/he insists on you renewing for 2 years instead of 1, then request that s/he abate the rent for the first 3-6 months (ie you get the first 3-6 months for free). Then you'd only be on the hook to pay for 18 months.
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Alexstringer, , Brooklyn, OH
Tue Oct 7, 2008
Well, there are a lot of disclosures i don't agree with, like imposing me a 5% extra if i don't pay on time, loosing my security deposit if i break the lease, imposing me the use of white color on the wall, while he already knows we painted the wall using a dark color...I mean these add ups really sound like he's doing everything to find a way to keep our security deposit and that's what i don't like at all.
As far as our relationship goes, he's always been taking care of our requests for the apt, but we're just concern about these new extended restrictions that come up out of the blue...
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Sandy Shores, Agent, Melbourne, FL
Tue Oct 7, 2008
You indicated that you have been renting the same apartment for 4 years. From your comment it sounds as if you are dealing with an individual owner. Are the restrictions that have been included in your updated lease those that you are able to comply with? Or do they cause you concern? Have you built a relationship in which you can sit down and discuss any concerns with your landlord? A good landlord/tenant relationship is a give/take relationship. I am happy to have my current tenants, and in most cases I look forward to keeping them. So, I am happy to work through any bumps in the road that we may have (as long as they are in harmony with the local or community guidelines in the area in which they are living). Talk to your landlord about your concerns.

In our area of Florida vacancy rates are up by 12% over last year! We currently have many empty properties.
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Sandra Mathe…, Agent, Grand Junction, CO
Tue Oct 7, 2008
Yes, rental agreements can me modified and updated at renewal time. Changes are required lfor issues dealing with liability, security, disclosure, maintenance issues, etc. A tenant can either agree to the new terms or look for another property to rent.
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Tue Oct 7, 2008
Each year lease renews tenant or property owner can make modifications in lease. It depends on both parties agreeing IF not then tenant would need to move.
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