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OK-any DU attornies or legal experts-My mom is being screwed on her lease

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w8liftinglady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-10 12:35 PM
Original message
OK-any DU attornies or legal experts-My mom is being screwed on her lease
...any recomendations on who to contact would be appreciateed.
signed lease apr 10 effective through mar 31 for X dollars.it was 50.00 less than mom's previous lease-she confirmed with office that it was correct,and signed.
Office 4 montha later is saying that mother owes back lease funds for signed lease,and will go up 50.00 month for next 3 months...implying my mom is trying to rip them off.My mom has no idea who to turn to.Is it legal to challenge a lease amount after it has been signed/accepted because the staff may have made a mistake?This is an over-55 apartment complex with HUD/medicaid support for many clients(not my mom).Who can my mom turn to?She has tried contacting the corporate headquarters,with no response,the legal Aid,with no response.Off the record,renter's Rights stated that a lease is a binding contract.
Mom just wants to get it fixed.Would an attorney be helpful?Is it worth taking one on,or can I do something myself.Any suggestions are appreciated.
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joeybee12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-10 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
1. Please clarify...the lease says X amount which your mother has been paying, correct?
And they say that amount was a mistake, and they want her to back pay, correct?

Tell your mother to tell them to phuck off.

Seriously, if both parties signed the lease and your mother specifically asked if the amount was correct, they are totally in the wrong.

That said, try to get her tomcontact legal Aid again and have someone contact those bozos on her behalf and tell them to knock it off.
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w8liftinglady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-10 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. yes..in writing..I have reviewed it.-thank you.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-10 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. She can retain a lawyer for a pretty nominal amount of cash
and get him to write them one letter. That usually gets people like that to back off permanently. Next year, she will likely have to pay the original rent plus the $50.00 break she got this year, so have her put the money in a savings account to cover that. She'll be that fabulous 1% richer at the end of the year.

However, there is nothing they can do to her this year. If they try to get nasty and skip unit repairs, she can call in the city building inspector and raise all sorts of hell.
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WolverineDG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-10 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
2. is she in texas? nt
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w8liftinglady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-10 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. yes
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WolverineDG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-10 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. check your pm nt
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zipplewrath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-10 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
5. $200
It shouldn't be too hard to find a lawyer to handle this for as little as $200. It might take some leg work (or phone work) but to a great degree it sounds like a stern letter needs to be written. It will get alot more expensive if they choose to challenge the lease.
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RT Atlanta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-10 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
6. start with your state's landlord tenant act
Edited on Thu Jul-22-10 12:49 PM by RT Atlanta
which should be fairly easy to find online. ON EDIT:

please see this helpful link (since you say you're in TX):

http://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/tenants.shtml

This should give you a good start for understanding the legal foundation for your mom's rights.

If the contract correctly stated the rent as you note above, and that is the sum your mom has been paying, the Landlord can do nothing but accept the rent.

Should the landlord seek to escalate the matter, I would call your local bar assocation (hopefully different from legal aid) and ask them about their referral or pro-bono program for assistance. You may also consider contacting some of the larger local law firms in your area and ask them about whether they handle pro-bono matters and if so, if you can speak with an attorney in their real estate department.

Good luck.
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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-10 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
8. Links to info-Am pretty sure they cannot change the terms on a 1-year lease
Edited on Thu Jul-22-10 01:03 PM by Whoa_Nelly
as it is a document of agreement signed by both parties.

She needs to contact the Office of Attorney general, and her county District Attorney.

By law, across the states, a signed lease is binding by both parties. Her rights are spelled out on this page under Title 8 on the page (scroll down a bit) There are pdf links to open and read there.

http://www.dallashomerental.com/Texas_landlord_tenant_l...

the link to the Office of Attorney General: www.oag.state.tx.us

Pretty standard from state-to-state:
http://www.enotes.com/everyday-law-encyclopedia/landlor...
<snip>
Unenforceable clauses

Some clauses that appear in a written lease or rental agreement are, by the nature of the clause, unenforceable. These include agreements that the landlord can repossess property if the tenant falls behind in the rent, agreements allowing the landlord to enter the rental unit any time, without notice, agreements that tenants will pay for all damages to the rental unit without regard to fault, and agreements that court action entitles the landlord to more money than can be order by the court.


In the lease document, is there a clause that the landlord/landlord's agent can at any time change the terms of the lease? If not, she needs to read up on the statutes that apply to landlord tenant agreements and lease, inform them of her rights, and contact the BBB and the District Attorney for her county, as well as the state Attorney General's office.
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w8liftinglady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-23-10 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. thank you-I'm forwarding this to my mom-I really appreciate it,big time!
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-23-10 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. They can't change terms on a signed contract, unless certain things are stated
Once, a place i rented had an addendum to the lease that stated as of March 1, 20XX, we would have to start paying for our own internet. They can't change the amount of rent. NO WAY.
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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-23-10 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
10. Just checking in on this thread
Hope your mom gets this straightened out. It's all in her favor to not have to bow to their threats.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-23-10 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
12. Leases are binding contracts. Generally unilateral mistake is no defense to contract
Mutual mistake is a defense to contract. So the argument is, "you may have made a mistake, but it's your problem" versus "we both knew that price was wrong!".

Sounds like a case of of the first type ("unilateral mistake, no defense to contract.) In other words, the apartment complex is obligated to honor the contract. My concern for your mom, even knowing that the lease is on her side, is what happens when it's time to renew? This may be a situation where "splitting the difference" with the complex to keep the peace might be a good idea. Just a thought.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-23-10 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
13. Looks Like You've Gotten Good Advice Here
I'll just kick in to add I had a similar problem a few years ago with my landlord for a house I was renting. After signing my 2nd year lease she called a month later to tell me she had "forgotten" to raise my rate 5%, or roughly 50 dollars a month. I said sorry, we have a signed legal document showing the dates and amount to be paid per month. Because she is a nice lady and good landlord, I told her I'd split the difference with her and agree to a 25$ rate increase after six months if she'd let me go month to month after that with no upward rate changes for another year and she agreed.

Bottom line here is that it sounds like your moms has a signed contract in place and the complex is just trying to intimidate her.
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w8liftinglady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-23-10 10:38 AM
Response to Original message
14. I am eternally grateful to all of you-you've been very helpful.
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ChoppinBroccoli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-23-10 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
16. A Lease Is A Contract--Your Mom Has A Case
Now, bear in mind that I'm only licensed in Ohio, and Texas' laws may be different, but I'll bet you they're probably very similar. However, in EVERY State, a lease is a contract, and is considered legally binding. Another aspect of Contract Law that's generally agreed-upon in all States is that when you have a written contract signed by both parties (and in this case, you do), the "four corners" of the contract constitute the ENTIRE agreement (meaning, if it's not in the WORDS of the contract, it doesn't exist--no oral revisions or "I actually meant it to say......." clauses are considered legally binding).

Bottom line: they screwed up, and they're the ones who WROTE the contract, so the onus is on them to make sure that it's right before everyone signs it. They didn't. Now they have to eat it. Your mom has an EXCELLENT case.

As far as the money situation, many attorneys are out there who are willing to get started for small amounts of money. You might even find some attorneys willing to take the case on a pro bono basis (but I will tell you that it's tough to find people who are willing to work for free in this economy, so don't get frustrated if you get a lot of refusals). My advice is to just open up your phone book and start burning up the phone lines. You'll eventually find someone who will meet your budget. And while Legal Aid is kind of a pain to deal with, they're still an option (and a free option at that), so keep trying them.
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-23-10 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
17. Statute of frauds - it is a real estate contract
So you cannot look outside the document for terms. I think.

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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-23-10 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. no. nt
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