What to do if I am ending a lease that I didn’t even sign and now the apartment complex says I owe them a termination fee?

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What to do if I am ending a lease that I didn’t even sign and now the apartment complex says I owe them a termination fee?

They only gave me copies of last year’s lease and I in fact did not sign a lease for this last period. Do I owe them the termination fee due to this technicality? I will pay if I am supposed to but I wanted to make sure.

Asked on August 12, 2011 North Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

To help you with your question, you need to carefully read the prior written lease that you signed with your landlord regarding the rented unit in that its terms typically control the obligations you owe to the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law on a given subject.

Does your prior assumed written lease have reference of a "termination fee?" If not, then you are not obligated for such a fee. If it does, then potentially under your state's law this "termination fee" may be an illegal and void provision in violation of public policy laws in your state.

In California, such "fees" are illegal and void as a matter of law.

If there is a local landlord tenant clinic in your community, you should consider consulting with it regarding the "termination fee" issue concerning your lease.

Good luck.

 


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