Q: We have been renting to tenants for 3 years. A year ago their year lease was up and we made a verbal agreement of a rent
Increase from $1500 to $2000 they have been paying $2000 for a year they were suppose to buy our house and ended up not qualifying this month they said they were only going to pay $1500 because that’s what their contract says, which is correct. Moving forward how do we make it legally binding? Can they sue us over the over payment bacause we didn’t have a written 90 day notice, even though we verbally agreed to it and they paid it for over a year? Can we just make a new contract with new rent amount?
A: You really need to have a written rental agreement no matter what, regardless of whether it is a month to month tenancy or a fixed term lease. Yes, if they are willing, you can enter into a new written agreement; you can even require them to enter into a new, written lease or have their tenancy terminated. The monthly rent is the sticking point. As you note, any increase requires at least a 90 day written notice of the increase in order to be valid. Conceivably you can have a new written rental agreement that provides for the $1500 now and it goes up to the $2000 automatically in 90 days. As for the past "over-payment". Both of you have arguments in that they may have waived the right to complain and there is only a 1 year statute of limitations in landlord-tenant matters to begin with. A Judge, however, may find that even though they paid it, legally they have not waived any objection and they are owed a refund. It could go either way but my guess is the tenant might prevail on it, at least as far as getting a refund for the last 12 months of overpayment - beyond that I think would violate the statute of limitations. Questions? Review it all with a local landlord-tenant attorney. Good luck.
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