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I am currently living in an apartment in Atlanta, Georgia which lease ends in two weeks. I called my apartment to tell them I am leaving and wanted to pay my last month prorated bill and they said I had to give out a two month notice so they are trying to make me pay for additional two months.

What would happen in this scenario? Am I obligated to pay them?

  • This is a legal question and as such will be location dependent. If you enter your jurisdiction here, someone may be able to assist. Otherwise, look for your local "rental ombudsman" on google; there will likely be a set of renters' / tenants' rights that both you and your landlord must respect. In some jurisdictions, perhaps the landlord may be within their rights to require a 2 month notice period. In which case, they may be able to withhold your security deposit, or otherwise pursue you for damages. Or it is possible that your jurisdiction grants the landlord no such rights. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon May 2 '17 at 20:49
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    What does your lease agreement say? That is likely what you (and they) are bound to. – D Stanley May 2 '17 at 20:50
  • Landlord says that the lease agreement says two month notice. However, they claimed they sent me letters of two month notice but i never received such letters. If I knew this, I would have definitely paid them. What will happen if I don't pay them? – robben May 2 '17 at 20:57
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    They'll send a debt collector after you, and may sue in small claims court. Assuming they can't just yank your security deposit. – ceejayoz May 2 '17 at 21:00
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    If I were you I'd try to compromise and give them one month's rent. It may be cheaper for them to forgive the second month than to take you to court. But then again, it may be cheaper for you to pay the rent than to deal with the hit to your credit or to get a lawyer to defend you. If they do settle, be sure to get something in writing that they forego the second month of rent. – D Stanley May 2 '17 at 21:38
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The short answer is this: You have to do what your lease (a contract you signed) said you would do, including giving two months notice and/or pay for the additional months if you move early.

Confirm in your lease what the landlord is telling you. If it agrees with what they say (and it probably will) you should pay the extra two months. You signed a contract that said you would. It is your responsibility to know what the notice requirements are and it would have been smart to do it long before now.

I have no idea what the conversation about them not mailing you notice is about. You are the one who was supposed to send them a letter letting them know your intent within the notice requirements. They have no obligation to notify you of this unless they wanted to kick you out early.

Consequences of not paying are one or more of the following:

  • Them keeping your security deposit
  • Ruining your rental history making it hard to rent another place.
  • Ruining your credit
  • Sending the debt to collections
  • Getting sued for the remainder of the unpaid rent.

Your best option: Work with them to try and come to an agreement. Likely you are the one wanting to break the agreement and will need to convince them to make concessions for you.

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    Many leases contravene local rental laws - and whether or not the lease includes a particular clause may be irrelevant given what the law actually says. The OP should also check those laws, to determine whether they supersede the contract they signed. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon May 3 '17 at 16:52
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https://www.dca.ga.gov/main/contact/index.asp

Contact Georgia Department of Consumer affairs. Requiring a two-month notice to move may not be legal. They could tell you.

I own rental property in California and I have never heard of anyone demanding 60 days notice.

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First of all look at the documents you signed when you moved in. Those will dictate what you must do at the end of the lease period. They will tell you when you must tell them that you want to extend, and when they have to tell you if you can extend. Sometimes they ask you to sign a new lease to extend, other times they convert you to a month-to-month lease. Even a month-to-month lease has rules regarding notice. All of this is in the lease.

If they are expecting two months notice, that sounds like they thought you were staying longer. Did you tell them you were staying longer?

What you need to know is what automatic provisions kicked in regarding the end of the lease.

Regarding the money. You pay the rent in advance. That means that when you move out you don't owe them any more money. In fact they are still holding your security deposit, which they will only return after they inspect the apartment, and you return the keys and parking pass. Note the security deposit is not the same thing as last months rent.

If you move out owing money they can take you to court. Depending on the amount of rent owed, and the condition of the apartment, it will likely be in small claims court. Also keep in mind that if you skip out you won't be there for the inspection, which means they will be the one documenting the condition of the unit.

Check with the state/county/city for information regarding tenant/landlord law. for a website/pamphlet that explains much of this.

  • What is the likely hood of them taking me to court? – robben May 2 '17 at 22:08
  • 100% if they can sue you in small claims court. Some jurisdictions all arbitration but they might not agree to it if you skip out. – mhoran_psprep May 2 '17 at 22:43
  • But I have friends who didn't pay there last month rent and nothing ever happened to them other than a debt collector calling them. They never had to go to court – robben May 2 '17 at 23:17
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    You can't compare with your friends. They may have had a different contract with their landlord. – Lexi May 3 '17 at 13:40
  • @robben (a) They may have had different terms in their lease. (b) The landlord may have decided it wasn't worth going to court. (c) They may have not bothered to show up on the court date, in which case the other party gets a "default judgement", i.e. if you don't show up to argue your case, you lose. – Jay May 3 '17 at 16:19
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As others have said, read your lease agreement. If it says you have to give two months notice and you signed it, than you are legally bound.

Your statement about "they say they sent you letters" brings up another issue. If your original lease agreement said nothing about giving two months notice, then some time after you moved in they sent you a letter saying they were now requiring two months notice, then whether or not you got the letter, if you didn't sign anything, it's not a contract and you can't be bound by it. Companies often try to pull this trick of, "we signed a contract with you in which we agreed to do X in exchange for you doing Y, but now we've changed our minds and decided we won't do X, or you have to pay us more". Sorry but no, you can't do that. When you sign a contract, you are bound by it, unless both parties agree to changes. You can't just unilaterally change anything you like. A moment's thought will show that if you could, contracts would be worthless. If the lease agreement said two weeks notice, they can't just decide later that you must give two months notice. Any more than you could send them a letter saying you've decided that you will only give one week notice. (If a contract does not have a specific time frame, companies CAN get away with saying, We are changing the terms to X, and if you do not agree to this, you must cancel before such-and-such a date. Credit card companies do this all the time: we are increasing the interest rate to X, and if you don't agree, cancel the card, and any remaining amount owed must be paid at the old rate that you agreed to, but if you keep using the card, you must now pay the new rate.)

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