Signed Renewal Notice My lease is up on Aug.

Signed Renewal Notice
My lease is up on Aug. 8, 2002. I signed a notice saying that ”I wish to renew my lease agreement for seventeen months.” I have not signed the new lease agreement. Now instead of renewing for seventeen months I wish to go month to month. Am I held liable since I signed the notice or is it possible to change since I have not signed a lease agreement.

3 thoughts on “Signed Renewal Notice My lease is up on Aug.

  1. Re: Signed Renewal Notice
    Review the initial lease to discern any relevant condition or clause. Notwithstanding a relevant clause to the contrary, the following generally applies.

    Your notice could be construed as an offer. No obligation flows from an offer until it is accepted. Offers can be revoked until there is acceptance. There are
    special types of offers that derive a different result but this is not likely the case here. So, if the landlord has not responded to your offer, promptly revoke it. There are specific rules
    regarding the timing that applies where an acceptance is dispatched and a revocation is dispatched in close time proximity to each other. If this winds up being the case, contact an attorney.

    Now that is predominately ONE relevant analysis. But there is one other matter and an entirely different analysis that may apply.

    You say your lease was up in August and it appears that you stayed beyond the expiration of the lease. At this point
    you became what is referred to as a hold over tenant. A hold over tenant remains such until something occurs to disturb this status. There are specific requirements for ending a lease when qualifying as a hold over tenant (but this is not
    all together relevant to your inquiry at this time). The disturbing event I refer to is whether a lease for term was entered. In this regard, your action may be contrued as an invitation to receive the landlord’s offer for a lease of term (i.e., 17 months). This is more likely
    the more reasoned and appropriate analysis. An invitation for offer is followed by an offer, the offer is then followed by acceptance or rejection. Even if the offer is exactly the same as the invitation, acceptance of such offer is not bound upon the party who invited the offer unless some other form of consideration is involved in the transaction. This being a more suitable analysis, you should promptly rescind your invitation for an offer.

    None of the above discusses any aspect of the landlord’s potential claim of reliance damages, this being relevant as well.

    In all events, the terms of the original lease may or may not determine any penalty applicable to early termination. This is because it depends on which analysis is to prevail as to whether you are a hold over tenant with an invitation for offer, or an offeror with an accepted offer at the same terms.

    This may all seem to be a confusing contradiction of terms but each analysis bears a markedly different result and it is important that you understand this before you start to apply either approach.

    G. Joseph Holthaus III
    Law Offices of G. Joseph Holthaus
    2255 Daniels Road
    Ellicott City, MD 21043

  2. Re: Signed Renewal Notice
    Who drafted the “Notice?” If it is not part of a lease agreement, it is probably not enforceable. You should send written notice of your revocation of your offer to lease for 17 mo. period as soon as possible, as it is likely to be construed as an offer, and you could be held liable for reliance damages if it was accepted.

    Cotie Jones
    Jones & Associates
    10111 Martin Luther King, Jr. Hwy.
    Bowie, MD 20720-4200

  3. Re: Signed Renewal Notice
    Your expression of desire to renew is not legally binding, especially since the landlord didn’t sign an agreement, unless the original lease contained language that stated that the lease would be automatically renewed upon receipt of your notice of intent to renew. Without seeing the documents, it’s difficult to give you a definitive answer to your question. I suggest you notify the landlord that you’ve changed your mind and want to continue on a month to month basis and see what reaction you get.

    Robert Sher
    Wagshal and Sher
    4824 Edgemoor Lane
    Bethesda, MD 20814

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