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August 17, 2013

James asks…

Apartment question, Eviction…?

Ok my fiancee and I moved into an apartment July of 2007. This is in the State of Iowa. When we looked at the apartment there were a few stains and holes/tears in the carpet. The manager said that they would replace it before we moved in. The day we moved in the carpet was not replaced and we had no where to go so we had to move in with this carpet. My fiancee knew the manager, she worked at his high school years before. So we moved in with a verbal agreement that this carpet would be replaced and they would give us notice and they would take care of moving our furniture and stuff to have the carpet replaced. When we filled out the forms stating if anything was damaged in the apartment when we moved in the manager begged us not to check the carpet because she was suppose to have had it done before we moved in. So us being naive we didn’t mark it down. Two months into the first year we lived there the dishwasher broke. We had the maintenance men in to fix it, they said that the motor went out on it and that they would have to check with the manager to fix the motor or to get us a new one. We hadn’t heard back again from them about our dishwasher. We started to call at least once a week leaving messages and everything about It getting fixed. Well a year went buy and My fiancee and I could not find a cheaper place to live and he had just lost his job so we were forced to stay there. With us renewing our lease we got 2 free “perks” we chose carpet cleaning because by this time the holes/tears had gotten a little bigger and of course we had contributed a few stains to the carpet. December of 2008 nothing had gotten fixed no calls being returned nothing of that nature. My car got robbed Sunday after Christmas on there property, I went to the police station and documented it. The cops told me that this was the six or seventh time someone has complained about this. They let me know they contacted the apartment complex to notify them of this problem. I also called and left several messages about this so that they might hand out a flier or something so maybe someone would come forward to these crimes. The following weekend after my car got robbed and me calling the office everyday, I started getting knocks every hour from midnight to about 5 in the morning, Friday night, and Saturday night. I called to complain and I also called the cops, the cops said they didn’t find anything suspicious and left. I told the people at the apartment that I was afraid for my safety and I did not feel comfortable living there any longer. After that the Apartment complex left a note on my door saying that I would be fined $100 dollars for my dog running around my apartment at all hours of the day and night and barking constantly, if I did not fix the situation within 48 hours. I never got fined I finally got a hold of someone and explained that my dog does not bark unless someone knocks on the door or something of that nature and explained the weekend where my door got knocked on multiple times. And I also asked about the dishwasher getting fixed and now the garbage disposal was having problems, I asked about our carpet and the ceiling fans, and they said that they had remodeled an apartment and those things that they got for us were used in the remodeled apartment so they would have to order the supplies again. I then got a note the following week saying that the maintenance men had tried to come into my apartment multiple times to fix the things that needed to be, but that they couldn’t get it. I never received a phone call from them, of this issue and they have a master key so I’m not sure why they were not able to make it in. So I called again for a week straight and finally after a week of calling I got the assistant. I told her I would take a day off of work so they could come in and fix the things that needed to be fixed. They never came in to fix those things. So finally my Fiancee and I moved out of the apartment because he got laid off again from his job and we wouldn’t be able to afford the apartment. I was told by multiple people to just get evicted because I knew I would have a problem with these people. And I should mention that this complex had changed manager 3 times in the 2 months I lived there. So my fiancee and I moved all of our stuff out of the apartment. We called about 3 weeks later to let them know our stuff was out of the apartment. We never signed a thing nor did we ever say we were breaking our lease. We told them that if they would fix the appliances and the carpet that we would finish our lease. Two months later we got a thing in the mail saying we owe the apartment $2015 and will need to continue to pay rent until the apartment is rerented. Is this legal for them to do? Won’t they need to take us to court to evict us before we pay anything? I guess I’m not sure what to do in this situation. Please HELP!

Administrator answers:

Keep it in mind that don’t take verbal agreement in rental market. The issues that you have including carpet, dishwasher, etc… Should be all in written form with a signature. Like if the LL/agent agree to replace the carpet before you move in, then have them stated on the lease before you sign on it. Now after all those hassles you moved out without proper notice, you’re liable for the amount of rent you owe. If you don’t care about being evicted, then let them take you to court for the $$ but it’ll become part of your credit report. Good luck.

Jenny asks…

How to get out of my apt lease??? HELP!?

Unfortunately I lost my job at the organization i’ve been employed at for 4 years. I can’t afford to stay at my apt any longer. I am trying to get out of my lease but I’m not 100% sure what I can do. The apt manager sent me an email with my option:

You can do one of a couple of things.

1 – Continue to pay out your lease as rent is due on the first until your contract is fulfilled

2 – Move out early, but you are subject to early lease term fees equaling no less than 2-times your leases market rate listed on page one. You would still be required to pay through a 60-days notice. This would cost you twice as much money.

3 – Fail to pay and eviction paperwork would be filled and you would be charged the same fees as #2 if you move out and do not pay all rent, fees etc owed

Would someone please help me understand what my options are? Is there anything else I can possibly do?

Administrator answers:

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Get Out of Your Apartment Lease
It is not as hard as you think to break your lease and move out of your apartment early. Many life changes, like job relocation or buying a house, prompt renters to move on the spot instead of finishing out the lease. The real issue with lease breaking is that it costs a lot of money in extra fees. Find out how to move out early and save money.

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need
A copy of your lease
A copy of the move-out notice form
It is easier than ever to break your lease and move out early no matter what date the lease is scheduled to end. However, please remember a lease is a binding legal contract and should always be followed precisely in order to avoid eviction and lawsuits. For more info, check the links below in the resources section.

Get a copy of the lease and read the fine print. Locate sections regarding topics like: number of days written notice, move-out notice, early move out or reletting charge, release of resident, replacements and subletting.

Get a copy of the move out notice form and read the fine print. It may also be called “Notice of resident’s intent to vacate property prior to end of lease term”.

Speak to the property manager and explain your situation. Ask questions to determine your options, timeframe and the total amount of extra fees you could be charged. Sometimes they will work with you and other times they go by the book with no exceptions. Either way, you will be given one or more options for breaking your lease and moving out early.

The most common method is to follow the procedures for immediate move out. In this case, you can move out on any chosen date by paying a settlement fee of usually one or two month’s rent, plus other charges. This option can become quite expensive. However, it resolves the matter quickly and hassle-free. As the most popular choice for renters, it can also be profitable for the apartment company.

Another option that may be offered by the property management is be on-call for move-out. You can move out on any chosen date, but you must still pay rent until the apartment is re-rented (which could be a long time). Or, if you stay in the apartment while waiting, you could be forced to move out immediately upon finding a replacement renter. Most renters avoid this method due to these undesirable terms.

The final method is to take matters into your own hands by doing a little advertising. One way to move out early without paying extra fees is to find a replacement renter yourself. Post flyers, post classified ads, tell your friends. Someone might be looking for an apartment just like yours! Finding a replacement renter saves you from paying extra fees for breaking your lease early. Check out and post a free listing.

Remember that the new renter must still be approved through the regular apartment application process. The details will be worked out between you, the new renter and the property management. Ultimately, you can break your lease and the new renter will sign a new lease of their own. Then you are free to walk out the door and still save some money in your pocket.

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