Can a landlord ignore a term of the lease?

UPDATED: Aug 30, 2010

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Can a landlord ignore a term of the lease?

I was late on my August rent. My lease states that I can have any late fees/rent deducted from my deposit and Ihave 5 days to return it. The management company said they know what my lease says but they are not doing that (I have the message left stating this). They told me that I had a day to bring in the balance for my rent or they are filing an eviction. Is this legal?

Asked on August 30, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract; it binds both parties. One party to a lease cannot simply, arbitrarily decide to change the terms or ignore the plain language. If you have a lease, you  can enforce its terms; and, as long as you are in compliance with its terms (including payment terms) and also are not disturbing other tenants or damaging the premises, there should be no grounds for  an eviction. The management company cannot make you pay earlier or other than the lease itself specifies; of course, since you're basing your rights on the lease, it would be a good idea to double check the lease VERY carefully, to make sure  you understand it correctly. Good luck.

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