Can I incur charges never previously discussed?

I moved 10 months ago and rented an apartment for a year. Now my lease is almost up. I have less than 2 weeks to decide if I want to stay and now out of no where they are staying I will incur a $65 monthly charge for the washer and dryer in my apartment which was a fee we never discussed and isn’t written anywhere not even on my lease. They explained I would incur a water fee and since I was given ample warning I’m OK with that but $65 for something they put in my apartment? That’s ridiculous. Could you please let me know if I have a chance to fight this

Asked on June 19, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you lease is about to be up, while they cannot retroactively charge you for this for the lease terms or period just ending (they can't any charges to an existing or expired lease if those charges were not in the lease), the can add this to a renewal lease--that is, they have the right to say that if you want to rewnew the lease, you'll have to pay the water fee. No law forces them to keep the terms of the lease the same on renewal--it's essentially a new lease. So they can add a new charge (or raise the rent, etc.); you in turn have the right to decide to *not* live because you don't want to pay more. It is a negotiation; and if either side is not happy with the deal, they can walk away (landlord refuse to rent to you; you refuse to lease the unit).
Exception: if your current lease states that you have the right to renew it as is or under the same terms, you can enforce that and prevent them from adding new charges. In this case, you and they had already agreed contractually to the terms of renewals.


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