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Old 01-13-2020, 11:49 AM
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How shady is this rental/lease situation?


My daughter, currently a sophomore in college in Boston, and 2 of her friends are looking for an apartment for September. They believe they've found one, good location, short walk to the T, rent is OK, and are planning on signing the lease today. Note that the rental market in Boston is utterly insane, and with all the college students Sep 1 is by far the busiest moving day of the year, which is why they're signing the lease (and paying broker fee, first, last, & security) 7+ months ahead of time.
As college students with no visible sources of income, they need each need a cosigner for the lease, which means me. Which also means that I'm carefully reading the lease & addendums.
So the thing that really bugs me is that the landlord, apparently without specifically notifying the tenants, set the lease end date to Aug 30, 2021 instead of the utterly standard last day of the month Aug 31. I don't know why, and personally I think it's a bit shady they did it without calling it out to the prospective tenants - I honestly thought it was a typo, but the broker said no, the landlord put it in on purpose.
If it was me renting, and the market wasn't insane, I'd be inclined to tell the landlord and broker to go screw, and find something else. Not so much because a single day is a big deal, but because I don't like landlords trying to hide stuff like that from me. But it's not, and it isn't, and I don't want to make my daughter & her friends start the whole process over. So am I overreacting, or do I have a valid point?
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:54 AM
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The landlord would probably like a day to have the property professionally cleaned and/or painted before the new tenant takes possession.

Seems reasonable to me.
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Old 01-13-2020, 12:00 PM
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The laws vary state to state, but here in Florida either party has to give 60 or 90 (I forget which) days notice of intent to renew OR intent to not renew. So a difference of a day wouldn't enable the owner to sneakily cut the tenants out of the option to renew, and I believe the rent for the final month would be pro-rated for 30 days instead of 31 if they chose not to renew. Just like I wouldn't pay a full month's rent if my lease ended on the 15th.

But I don't know the laws in MA. Is there any reason why the difference of a day would allow shenanigans on the landlord's part?

My guess is that the extra day is just a buffer for cleanup/repairs between tenants.
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Old 01-13-2020, 12:05 PM
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Note that they sent me a copy of the current tenant's lease (because that's all they had available when I asked for a copy of the lease last week), and the current tenant's move out date is Aug 31 2020. So this isn't something the landlord has done in the past.
The explanation of "we need a day to clean it" is a reasonable one, I agree. I'm annoyed that it, or any other reason, wasn't presented up front along with the change.
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Old 01-13-2020, 12:58 PM
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Seems to me like a problem that can be easily resolved with a phone call.
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:17 PM
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Seems to me like a problem that can be easily resolved with a phone call.
Yes, give them a call. It might be a simple clerical error. I’m picturing some administrative assistant mumbling “Thirty Days has September, April.....August?...and November.” as she filled out the forms.
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:19 PM
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I emailed the broker before I started the thread, she said the landlord added that date with no explanation. She did say it won't affect them if they renew (which they will unless things go very wrong). I'm not concerned too much about crazy shenanigans - MA has very tenant friendly laws - I just find slipping it in the lease without telling us doesn't sit well. None of the actual tenants care BTW.
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:33 PM
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Aug 30 is a Sunday, Aug 31 is a Monday. The landlord may just want to have the move out/in take place on a weekend this year to make it more appealing to any new tenant.
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:55 PM
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I'm not sure why it's shady - when reading the OP , I expected there to be some part where the landlord specifically told the tenants that the end date would be Aug 31 and then he changed it in the lease. But that does not appear to have happened, or at least the OP doesn't say it did - it seems that maybe there was just an assumption on the OP's part that it would end on Aug 31. And since the actual tenants don't care, who knows what conversation they may have had with the landlord and forgotten about ?
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:01 PM
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None of the actual tenants care BTW.
Of course not. They expect the place to uninhabitable by March. They'll be back living at home after April finals.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:04 PM
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Aug 30 is a Sunday, Aug 31 is a Monday. The landlord may just want to have the move out/in take place on a weekend this year to make it more appealing to any new tenant.
It's the lease end date in 2021, Aug 31 is a Tuesday next year.

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I'm not sure why it's shady - when reading the OP , I expected there to be some part where the landlord specifically told the tenants that the end date would be Aug 31 and then he changed it in the lease. But that does not appear to have happened, or at least the OP doesn't say it did - it seems that maybe there was just an assumption on the OP's part that it would end on Aug 31. And since the actual tenants don't care, who knows what conversation they may have had with the landlord and forgotten about ?
Because I've never signed a year lease that wasn't a full year. I'd expect that if it wasn't for a year, the landlord would say "BTW, if you don't renew, you actually have to move out 1 day before you may have expected to."

The lease itself says it's "for a term of 12 months, beginning 9/1/2020 and terminating on 8/30/2021." So it even contradicts itself - it's one day less than 12 months.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:13 PM
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I emailed the broker before I started the thread, she said the landlord added that date with no explanation.
Can you contact the landlord directly? Or at least push the broker to actually ask the landlord? Because it sounds to me like the broker saw it was the 30th and didn't bother to ask to make it the 31st.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:15 PM
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I have co-signed three leases for my son in college in Richmond and this is typical in a college town. In a normal apartment, a 12-month lease can start pretty much anytime, then when it's up the landlord can hold it off the market as long as needed for cleanup. However, for college-town leases, the lease terms can't drift like that. It has to start Sept 1 every year, so the landlord has to build in a day to get the place ready for the next tenant. My son's current lease expires noon on July 31 and the next lease starts at noon on August 1. That is a way to reserve 24 hours but still make the dates look right.
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  #14  
Old 01-13-2020, 02:22 PM
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Of course not. They expect the place to uninhabitable by March. They'll be back living at home after April finals.
Yikes! Thankfully my daughter can't stand coming home for more than 2 weeks or so.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
It's the lease end date in 2021, Aug 31 is a Tuesday next year.
Then it's what everyone else has said. Moving weekend around here (I live just outside Boston) is insane and the landlords are busy fixing, painting, and updating in a fury during that time if tenants are changing. Building in a day appears to be SOP from many accounts.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:46 PM
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The landlord would probably like a day to have the property professionally cleaned and/or painted before the new tenant takes possession.

Seems reasonable to me.
I agree with this, though, grasping at straws I have another possibility - 2020 is a leap year, there's an extra day (though it's before the lease begins); landlord was thinking he was making it a standard 365-day contract & not giving them the extra 'free' day (which occurs before the lease begins).

In short, you won't know unless you talk to the landlord.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:47 PM
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Meh. It's not exactly sneaky to explain exactly in the lease when the lease ends. If it matters to you, ask the landlord to change it to 8/31.

I once had a lease that ended on the last day of the month but at 12:01 AM. And I was supposed to return the keys to the office during office hours, which ended at 5:00 PM the day before. That would be a sneaky way to end a lease early. In the end, no one cared that I was still cleaning my apartment well after 12:01 AM and that I returned my keys in the drop box after the office had closed on the nominal last day of my lease. It probably helped that I left the apartment in move-in condition for the next tenant.
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:21 PM
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Ok, I'm taking the "not shady, just not well communicated" path. I've signed the cosigner form and transferred first months rent over.
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