DISCLAIMER: From lurking for a few months, I know that the best answer to a lot of legal questions on the SDMB is “get a lawyer” or “it all depends based on your jurisdiction”. But this is all unfolding now and today, and I really could use whatever general info would be useful until I can further research getting a lawyer or the rules in my particular area.
As briefly as I can, here’s the situation. Myself, my gf, and a third roommate have been sharing a duplex whose written lease expires at the end of this month. The other roomie has to take the bar exam the very same day we’re supposed to move out, and so we asked him if we could stay an extra month. I don’t think he’d had anyone interested in the place, so at the beginning of this month he gave us a verbal okay.
Yesterday (Sunday), he calls my gf and says he’s got someone interested who wants to move in early. Could we be out by August 20? Oh, by the way, he needs to know that very same day.
Now, under ordinary circumstances I’d do my damndest to try and work with him. But my gf and I are both out of town, and haven’t found another place yet, so to agree would mean that we would be gambling that we could find a place to give us a short-term lease starting in the middle of the month, which in our college town ain’t very likely. And both she and are I out of town, so we can’t even research whether that’s a possiblity. I advise her to tell him no, because it’s just too risky.
As I feared, Mr. Hyde the Moneygrubber takes over for our landlord’s Dr. Jekyll. He claims that we have to be out anyway, because according to him he’s already given us 30 days’ notice, and announces that he’s meeting with the new tenant tonight and ominously suggests that he’s going to sign a lease with this guy regardless of what we say. Basically, he can smell the $$$ of a new lease, and he’s not about to let a little thing like a verbal agreement with his current tenants stand in the way.
The law student roommate is busily reviewing his landlord-tenant law, but he doesn’t want to fight it too hard because he already has a tenative agreement for a new place in another city, and is worried that our current landlord would give him a bad recommendation and sabotage the deal.
So here’s what it boils down to. The whole thing is turning into a big mess and hassle (on my vacation, no less), and I’m going to call him tonight. (Interestingly, he’s never even made an attempt to contact me or the other roommate, and we honestly think it’s because he believes my gf is easier to intimidate.)
We’re looking into it as best we can, but in general, are there any talking points or legal justifications I can drop to impress upon him the need to honor his verbal agreement with us? And what should we do if, god forbid, he does sign a lease with this other guy and set up the situation where he’s agreed to let two different parties live in the same place at the same time? I don’t want to turn this into a drawn-out ugly battle, but previous experience with this guy makes me think it could turn into that.