I have a tenant that wants to end a lease with 60 day notice that was extended for 6 months. The tenant is an attorney and is arguing the wording is not correct but I think he is wrong.
The original lease says:This Lease shall be extended automatically from month to month upon the same terms and conditions as set forth in this Lease. Prior to the expiration of the initial Lease Term or expiration of any extended Term, either of the parties may give the other at least sixty days written Notice of intention not to extend or to renew this Lease. If this Lease is extended, sixty days prior written Notice by either party shall be required to terminate this Lease. This Notice shall be received no later than the first day of the month and the tenancy shall terminate on the last day of the month. Should tenant fail to vacate as scheduled, the per diem rent rate will double.
The lease extension states:
I write you to request your agreement to renew the Residential Deed of Lease until March 31, 2010. After March 31, 2010 the Lease will be extended automatically on a month to month basis and either party may terminate the Lease with a written notice at least sixty days prior to the termination date.
And the tenant argues:I must admit that I viewed a portion of the proposed August 26, 2009 Lease Addendum as less-than-artful drafting. Nevertheless, I thought the Addendum accomplished what it was intended to do. Consequently, given (the tenant’s) disheartened states of mind resulting from the contemporaneous, and completely unexpected, withdrawal of financing to purchase their first home, I did not ask them to pursue any wordsmithing of the proposed Addendum with you. In particular, although the language of the Addendum addressed an “agreement to renew the Residential Deed of Lease,” it seemed clear that it did nothing more than extend the existing Lease. Moreover, I construed the Addendum’s language about the automatic extension on a month-to-month basis and the requirement for sixty days prior written notice of termination as confirmation that those existing Lease provisions would continue in place after the extended Term. (In addition, while I understood from (another tenant) that the Addendum would apply to six months, it was actually written for seven.)
Upon reading your letter, however, it seems that your expectation was to “renew” the subject Lease and to extinguish the existing provision for sixty days prior written notice of termination. I question whether the subject Addendum could accomplish that. At the expiration of the initial Lease Term, the Lease could have been renewed, or it could have been extended. Clearly it was not renewed at that time; rather, it was extended. Almost seven months later, you offered a document that purported to “renew” the Lease, but that “ship had already sailed.” Aside from executing a new lease, the only option available to us was to continue extension of the initial Lease Term.
In short, simply because you characterized the Addendum as a renewal did not necessarily make it so. I am at a loss in trying to understand how the Addendum could nullify the Lease’s existing provision that states: “If this Lease is extended, sixty days prior written Notice by either party shall be required to terminate the Lease.”
Do I have a fixed term lease until March or does the tenant have the right to terminate the lease with 60 days notice?