When can Igive notice to vacate?

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When can Igive notice to vacate?

I am a tenant at will on my lease. The lease stipulates that the Landlord rents to tenant the premises at the specified rent from rental period to rental period. This tenancy may be terminated by a written notice given by either party to the other before the day of any rental period and shall be effective on the last day of that rental period, or thirty days after such notice has been given, whichever is longer. However, there is an additional provision that states that I cannot give notice to vacate from December 1st through February 1st. Does this mean that I can give notice in January, wait 30 days and move so long as it’s after February 1st? I do not want to break my lease but also am a tenant at will looking for flexibility.

Asked on November 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The interpretation you describe is, based on what you write, the one that a court would most likely enforce--you can give notice during the "blackout" period, which notice will have effect when the period ends. It's not the only interpretation, though: it could be that you are barred from even providing notice during that period, which means you'd provide notice in February for March. That is a less intuitive, less common, but still plausible (and legal) interpretation.

The exact language of a contract is critical to understanding its terms; it's also important to consider any extraneous communications (e.g. emails) or other documents (e.g. marketing, ads) which can shed light on the parties' intention when they entered into the contract. For a more dispositive answer, therefore, you should bring the lease and any other relevant documents or communications to an attorney to review with you.


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