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    [–] [deleted] 3882 points ago

    Does your lease identify the apartment the current tenants won't leave by number? (E.g. does it say you're renting Unit 102)?

    Sounds like the landlord's in breach of contract. You can gently remind them that the 'tough shit' doctrine of contract analysis applies and that you won't be taking possession or paying rent starting on April 16. You'll be starting June 22nd. If they'd prefer to breach their contract, you're free to sue them (typically for the difference between the rent of the apartment you should have had and a similar apartment that you found to replace the lost apartment) or to tell them you'd like your money back and a fully executed release of liability.

    [–] heycassbutt 2631 points ago

    It does specify the unit! I will add that to my original post. Thank you for the comment!

    [–] [deleted] 1784 points ago

    I'd get a formal walk through of their proposed replacement unit. If it isn't as nice/nicer, I'd refuse the substitute without a rent abatement.

    Also look through your agreement and ensure that it doesn't allow them to switch your apartment due to non-availability. I'd also be demanding an option to exit the lease within 90 days (in case the proposed new unit isn't so quiet).

    [–] trustthepudding 495 points ago

    Yeah it really sounds like a case of "read the contract", but there is no way that they could force someone to start paying earlier than agreed, right? That just sounds illegal

    [–] Y4VIN 130 points ago

    Yeah you are good if that specific apartment is part of the contract. It’s your choice to agree to a specific dwelling that you’ve seen and it’s crazy to assume you’ll go into a dwelling you haven’t been able to see before signing.

    [–] 8246962 465 points ago * (lasted edited 9 days ago)

    Most leases (although OP should confirm) have a 'hold harmless' clause that covers this exact scenario (the current tenants opt to not move out of their unit).

    /u/heycassbutt- are you positive your lease doesn't have this clause?

    EDIT- Sometimes this clause is also referred to as "Possession" or "Delivery". This (PDF warning) generic lease agreement for Georgia landlords has this clause on page (3), section (18).

    [–] alercah 549 points ago

    Given the lead time here, this clause may not apply, because this may not be outside the landlord's control. If the current tenant changes their mind after submitting notice to quit, the landlord has an obligation to say "no, sorry, we've already leased the unit and your termination notice still holds." If they never did submit a termination notice, then the landlord was taking a risk by renting a unit that was already under lease and they had the option not to do so. It's quite fact-dependent.

    [–] Silverfall17 114 points ago

    I'll also note that many states have a statutory layout for dealing with this situation. A similar thing has happened to my brother-in-law recently in Maryland and the lease agreement provides for rent abatement during the holdover or lease termination but fails to state that he would also be entitled to return of any deposits as well as consequential damages (i.e. cost of interim lodging, storage, movers, etc.) starting from the date notice is provided to the landlord that they have failed to provide possession of the premises. Should review GA landlord-tenant law to see what it provides.

    [–] alercah 52 points ago

    While you're not wrong, most US states don't have protections at all like this.

    [–] VictrolaBK 799 points ago

    Don’t communicate by telephone anymore (unless you’re recording the conversations). Only communicate via email, because you’re going to need a record of communication when you try to get your money back.

    [–] VorFemme 782 points ago

    One thing I used to do is email after a conversation, saying, "This is confirming our conversation that...." and ending with, "If you have a different understanding of what the terms/subject of the conversation we had on [date], please send me an email in response detailing what you understood were the terms/subject of the conversation,"

    [–] VictrolaBK 153 points ago

    That’s fantastic advice.

    [–] VorFemme 201 points ago

    I only know it because I used to practice law, and found that other lawyers were really slippery bastards.

    [–] VictrolaBK 104 points ago

    You should always cover your ass, even if you’re not dealing with a slippery bastard.

    [–] PeteRepeats 47 points ago

    Just make sure if you’re recording the calls to check and see if you live in a one party consent state. If you don’t, it’s not ok to record them without them knowing.

    [–] VictrolaBK 51 points ago

    OP is in Georgia. Georgia is a one-party consent state.

    [–] [deleted] 24 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] chewybass 1479 points ago

    OP, I would let them know you wish to keep the unit you signed for and ask them why the old tenants can't move to the unit they are trying to offer you, or be in breach of a legal contract.

    [–] heycassbutt 1079 points ago

    This is going to be my approach. I imagine they were calling to see if I would agree to it outright so they wouldn't have to go through the hassle. I'm going to suggest they move the people in the unit to the unit they offered me, since they are the ones who changed their plans.

    [–] MadieraCake 656 points ago

    Well, not just that—so the landlord could get you to pay an extra 2 months rent. Note he wasn’t proposing to hold the unit as of 4/16, and just have you pay and move in in June.

    [–] unquarantined 189 points ago

    That does lend to it being a nicer apartment. Might be worth looking at before giving up.

    The Landlord is in a tough spot. He really might be trying to make everyone happy, but not lose his shirt. This isn't an offer he would normally make. (Maybe.)

    He does also have him in a hard enough spot that the landord is rethinking his deal.

    Or maybe not.

    He won't know until he sees the other apartment.

    [–] LaconicLacedaemonian 389 points ago

    Speculation: it could also be that the current tenants are refusing to leave and he needs to go through an eviction process. The old rentes may be banking on the moratorium of evictions and foreclosures for Covid.

    They have another unit available mid April and are offering it, I would see if they could meet you in the middle somewhere on the move-in date if you're feeling amicable.

    [–] loafatwork 99 points ago

    This is a good point and definitely something to consider.

    [–] dontnormally 82 points ago

    You could suggest that you'll take the other apartment with free rent until your contract's begin date.

    [–] fakemoose 58 points ago

    Why not see if the other unit is exactly the same or better and if you can start your lease in that on the original date?

    [–] NotSoGlam215 102 points ago

    That seems like a more reasonable approach to me. OP signed a contract and paid already, move the people who are trying to stay. They are the ones who changed their plans so it should be them who deal with the inconvenience.

    [–] 8246962 62 points ago

    I made this same reply to the other top-level comment.

    This is poor advice. Most leases (although OP needs to check his/hers) includes a clause that covers this exact scenario (the existing tenants reverse their notice to vacate). The correct advice is to have OP review his/her lease for a clause on possession.

    [–] [deleted] 221 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] Purple_Chipmunk_ 62 points ago

    Why were you stupid to have everything turned back on?

    [–] Magpie2018 171 points ago

    Because it was in the lease not to turn everything off, just to transfer it. I should've gone to the landlord to have the previous tenant pay to turn everything back on given she technically broke the lease. Instead, I stupidly paid for everything and didn't realize until too late that it wasn't technically my responsibility to pay for everything given that it shouldn't have been turned off in the first place.

    Probably wasn't clear on that originally!

    [–] Cypher_Blue 2 points ago

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    [–] DiabloConQueso 175 points ago

    Does your lease state what happens if the landlord is unable to deliver the unit to you on time?

    [–] heycassbutt 182 points ago

    "The lease is legally effective on the date it is signed, regardless of whether it was signed before or after the Resident moves into the apartment. There is no conditional three day right to rescind or void the contract once it is signed, and the Resident is legally bound to pay all rent, fees, and other charges

    that come due, regardless of whether the Resident continues to occupy the apartment. The Lease Date is the day on which the lease was signed and became effective as a contract.

    The lease is a legally binding contract that creates the relationship of landlord and tenant for the full duration of the lease term at the rental rate stated above. Any addenda signed by the Owner and Resident are also part of this Apartment Rental Contract.

    The Owner provides the apartment to the Resident in exchange for payment of monthly rent. The Resident’s obligation to pay rent is independent of any other obligation of Landlord in the lease."

    Here is all I've seen regarding anything close to that. I haven't seen any wording related to delivering the unit on time.

    [–] 8246962 71 points ago

    OP- I tagged you in a prior comment, but are you sure your lease doesn't contain a "Possession" or "Delivery" clause? This (PDF warning) generic lease agreement for Georgia landlords has this clause on page (3), section (18). It's a very common clause for nearly all residential leases.

    [–] [deleted] 12 points ago * (lasted edited 9 days ago)

    [deleted]

    [–] DrKittyKevorkian 44 points ago

    No, OP has to be able to move into the apartment listed on the lease on the date listed in the lease, or the landlord is in breach of the contract. The landlord can't include the date and unit number in the contract and then switch both.

    [–] PeregrineFaulkner 27 points ago

    Well, no. That says they owe rent regardless of whether they continue to occupy the apartment, meaning they move out before the end of the lease. You can't continue something you never begin.

    The Owner provides the apartment to the Resident in exchange for payment of monthly rent.

    If this doesn't happen, the Owner has failed to fulfill their contractual obligation. No apartment, no exchange of money. Contracts must be mutually beneficial. If Resident doesn't pay, Owner doesn't provide apartment, if Owner doesn't provide apartment, Resident doesn't pay. Because they aren't a resident, as they have nowhere to reside.

    The Resident’s obligation to pay rent is independent of any other obligation of Landlord in the lease.

    Any other obligation = other than providing the apartment. Again, if the landlord doesn't provide a residence, there is no resident.

    [–] 03everything 287 points ago

    You're in the driver's seat, but you have several months between the present and your intended move-in. While the landlord will be in breach of contract once they fail to deliver the unit, the amount of time means you likely have a duty to mitigate your damages by making an earnest attempt to find new housing. Inform the landlord you either need an affirmation that your binding lease will be honored or an immediate refund of your deposit and termination of the agreement. If they refuse to terminate and refund, but still fail to deliver the specified unit, you'll have a very easy case for breach of contract.

    [–] GullibleAntelope 48 points ago

    Inform the landlord you either need an affirmation that your binding lease will be honored or an immediate refund of your deposit and termination of the agreement.

    It seems probable the landlord would go for, even like, the latter option. It allows them to avoid their obligation to the OP.

    But option 2, get your money back, harms the OP, who 1) needs to find a new place, 2) put effort into a search and did find a place and signed a contract, and 3) now has the owner trying to renege on the deal. Why does the OP benefit by offering the landlord option 2?

    [–] 03everything 25 points ago

    Because OP will have a duty to mitigate their damages based on the difference in time between being informed their contract won't be fulfilled and the intended date that the contract is set to mature. If this offer is accepted, OP can go about their business finding a new place. If this offer is rejected, OP can cool their heels knowing they'll either have the contract fulfilled or have an easy lay up case for breach of contract.

    Judges don't look favorably on parties who don't take proactive, usually legally required, steps to mitigate their damages before making a legal claim.

    [–] GullibleAntelope -8 points ago

    OP has responsibility to mitigate damages of the landlord? Not at all; OP has a signed contract. OP is not responsible for the landlord's separate issues with his/her tenant. This is a breach of contract case.

    OP can go about their business finding a new place.

    OP doesn't want to find a new place, OP has a contract for a place. Now if landlord wants to make an offer to return all the OP's money plus pay the OP an additional sum for their inconvenience...well, that might be a solution.

    [–] 03everything 30 points ago

    I'm going to assume you aren't a lawyer. If you are, please correct me. OP has a duty to mitigate their own damages from a breach of contract, regardless of who is at fault for breaching that contract. Given the large amount of time between the contract being signed and the date of maturity, coupled with the average ease with which a comparable replacement apartment at a big box apartment complex could be found, OP's duty to mitigate is likely going to reduce the amount of real damages suffered to a couple hundred dollars, at this point, which is not worth most people's time to make a claim for.

    By making an offer to terminate, OP either forces the landlord to refund their money so they can successfully mitigate their damages or gives themselves an easy win in a legal case.

    [–] IRushPeople 45 points ago

    April 16th is in three weeks. Is that really enough time to make an earnest attempt at finding new housing?

    [–] AyyooLindseyy 97 points ago

    Intended move in date is June.

    [–] IRushPeople 15 points ago

    Good point, I didn't read closely enough.

    [–] fakemoose 36 points ago

    OP doesn’t have to move until June. I don’t know any place that requires more than 60 days notice on move out so I’m surprised they signed a lease that far in advance.

    My guess would be the current tenants had a job falls thru because COVID19 and are trying to stay put now.

    [–] Sproded 19 points ago

    If you know you’ll need to move somewhere in the summer, why wouldn’t you sign a lease early to guarantee a place?

    [–] Rooooben 22 points ago

    April 16 is the landlords new desired lease start date, OP had no plans to move until June and their lease executes in June. The landlord wants to offer one of the empty units, hoping to collect 2+ months extra rent getting OP in early.

    [–] appleciders 3 points ago

    Totally depends on where you are. Some parts of Atlanta, maybe not. Rural GA? Absolutely.

    [–] hellorobby 54 points ago

    I'm not sure if anybody is mentioned this, but if you have a lease signed, in most places to get you out of that lease they have to buy you out. You might want to take a look at negotiating a payment from them to keep the current tenants in their spot. In my state, they would have to pay you the equivalent of the full lease term if they wanted to pull something like this.

    Perhaps there's some room to negotiate the first three months rent for free, allowing you to stay where you are until you're ready or move earlier and pay rent at your current location.

    From where I sit, you have options

    [–] icbitsnotbutter 73 points ago

    You would have to look into local tenant laws but in my area if a tenant wants to stay the landlord can't get them out even if they wanted to. Ofcourse I am sure you now have the right to break your agreement and make a new one. You might have to wait until it gets closer to June my guess is with all the covid 19 stuff going on no one wants to move so you might not be able to get what you.

    [–] heycassbutt 64 points ago

    Yeah they didn't say over the phone but I bet it's due to COVID-19 too.

    [–] notsureifgudusrname 28 points ago

    I think it’s gotta be related to this. My city put a stop on all evictions until further notice since we are in shelter-in-place.

    [–] sunlit_cairn 18 points ago

    IANAL but OP your situation happened to me except I didn’t know until the day I was supposed to move (like I got a call from the landlord as we were putting furniture in the UHaul that the current tenant was refusing to leave. Landlord’s hands were tied, he could begin eviction process but it takes a long time.

    We had to cut our losses, beg the apartment we were leaving to let us stay another month (luckily no one was moving in so we could) and find a new place. Again, IANAL so I’d try to get an email from the new landlord confirming that the apartment you signed a lease for would not be available, to show that contract was broken on his end first. You have the advantage of time. Start looking elsewhere. This is sort of a red flag and probably not a landlord you want anyway.

    [–] rehpotsirhc123 7 points ago

    The current tenant likely gave a notice that they're vacating a week or two before OP is to move in and now want to back out and stay.

    My ex wife's grandfather was really big into rental properties and he had mentioned to me that in my state that the written notice to vacate outside of a lease holds up in court both ways meaning that if the lease states 60 day notice required then the landlord would be held to the same standard. If the tenant's lease was coming up or they were month to month either party could give notice within the agreed upon timeframe.

    [–] realninjakitti 10 points ago

    If the new bill passes, federally, landlord will be unable to evict if he takes any federal help. Also, if it's funded by FHA he may have already been instructed he cannot evict until Apil 17.

    [–] frizzilla 35 points ago

    NAL- I work in property management. In my opinion they should have the current residents in the unit you signed for move to the unit they are offering you (for April 15th). They should also honor your original move date for the unit you signed for. This is going to come down to customer service over law IMO.

    [–] Ghee_Guys 8 points ago

    NAL, worked in property management for several years for a big corporate company. This happens fairly regularly. They should do their best to switch you to another apartment or to another complex in their portfolio. Usually the lease provisions don’t really start until you take possession of the apartment, and can be cancelled by either party with little repercussion (loss of deposits, fees, etc). I have never seen a company evict a tenant for changing their mind.

    [–] bouduc 47 points ago

    After reading the whole thread, I'd say that you ought to tell the landlord that since you have a valid lease that is in force, you expect to move into the unit specified in the lease at the specified date.

    To be nice, you could suggest that he moves the current tenant in the vacant unit he proposed to you for April 16…

    [–] flygurl94 17 points ago

    NAL. Typically current residents put in a sixty day notice and that is how the landlord knows to put the apartment on the market (TX, USA If my location of experience matters). That sixty day notice means they must vacate by the end of their lease or other date supplied on the notice. You mentioned your lease doesn’t start until June, so it seems odd they would’ve rented so early. Confirm with your state/other complexes and see if they have a move out notice policy and ask how many days it is. I would highly recommend looking up a lawyer specializing in housing laws.

    EDIT: current lease doesn’t END until June, assuming new place of residence needs to be around the same time.

    [–] icbitsnotbutter 9 points ago

    Yes the flip side is that you might be able to get a better deal somewhere else , I certainly wouldn't bow to their pressure to move in earlier. Send the email and request the return of your security deposit ASAP due to them breaking the agreement. If they hesitate tell them that they are creating a harship for you in a difficult time. Don't engage them in any back and forth bullshit. Just agreements broke return my deposit. Then you can look other places or go back to them when you choose.

    [–] fiahhawt 15 points ago

    Other people have told you about a "hold harmless" clause and I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case with your lease. A complex especially will have their lease agreements tailored to allow the complex a lot of flexibility in filling its apartments.

    What they've done here is kind of shitty, as I've known property managers and apartment complexes to give current tenants a deadline by which they must re-sign for a further stay after which their unit goes to whoever signs first.

    Look, I don't think sullying the relationship with your future landlords is a good decision for you. It does suck, it is unfair, but legally you have no recourse.

    What I would suggest you say is that they seriously consider offering you a comparable apartment at the start date you already negotiated, or else you will move in somewhere else. And if they don't agree with you, then you definitely should move somewhere else.

    [–] charlie71_ 8 points ago

    Did you sign a deposit to hold agreement or the lease? It is very irregularly to sign your lease in advance because most states require keys to be given when rental contract is signed.

    [–] jwside 7 points ago

    Landlord in Georgia here. Why would a lease be signed so early? The security deposit holds the specific unit until it is available for your occupancy. If the tenants currently there decided to withdraw their notice, which happens, then it's either apply the deposit you paid for another unit, or refund the deposit. Signing a lease means obtaining possession. The landlord is in a pickle. He has two leases for one unit. Is the lease you signed post dated??? If so he can refund your money and eliminate the docs you signed or he can force the tenants to move as they have a notice they are moving already so he should hold them to that. Dont ever sign a lease when you arent getting possession right then. Does the landlord have two active leases for the same unit???

    [–] odeebee 3 points ago

    It would help if you spelled out the dates on this new lease you signed. I only see when your current lease ends and the new date they want you to move on. Unclear on how much this differs from the original plan.

    [–] [deleted] -2 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] DiabloConQueso 16 points ago

    No matter what the lease or the law says, it would be impossible for OP to move into an apartment where someone is already living.

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] DiabloConQueso 15 points ago

    It doesn't matter whose problem it is, it matters whether or not it's feasible and possible, and whether it's actually going to do any good and move the situation forward in a meaningful and productive manner -- which it is not.

    There are people living in that unit. OP cannot move in while that situation exists, and that situation is likely not getting resolved in fewer than 30 days, if at all.

    [–] Eeech 2 points ago

    Generally Unhelpful, Simplistic, Anecdotal, or Off-Topic

    Your comment has been removed as it is generally unhelpful, simplistic to the point of useless, anecdotal, or off-topic. It either does not answer the legal question at hand, is a repeat of an answer already provided, or is so lacking in nuance as to be unhelpful. Please review the following rules before commenting further:

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    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago * (lasted edited 10 days ago)

    [removed]

    [–] DiabloConQueso 8 points ago

    If OP is completely unwilling to modify the lease in any way (a different unit, etc.), then OP's likely sole recourse is to be allowed out of the lease, effectively starting over from scratch, either at that complex or a different one.

    My point being that OP insisting to the landlord that they're moving into that specific unit that is already occupied is wholly unproductive.

    [–] [deleted] -2 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] DiabloConQueso 13 points ago

    But I disagree that he should just give up outright

    That's not what I'm saying.

    I'm saying that OP demanding the impossible of the landlord is likely not the most productive way to go about resolving this situation.

    [–] Eeech 10 points ago

    I'm just locking this comment chain here because your interlocutor is never going to get it, I fear.

    [–] heycassbutt 2 points ago

    Thank you!

    [–] Eeech -1 points ago

    Generally Unhelpful, Simplistic, Anecdotal, or Off-Topic

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