Q: Is it legal to enforce a year office lease repetitively over 12 years?
Never been late a payment, assumed the agreement was month to month, never notified otherwise or paid any additional and never was given a new lease to sign. They said it is in the contract that it auto renews each year (12 years ago, who knows?). Is that legal for them to keep me in a contract over 12 years?
A: You must read your 12-year old lease to determine if it has an auto-renewal clause, which CANNOT legally say (in layman's terms), "This auto-renews whether you like it or not!" (If it were to have that, it would be unenforceable.) My guess is that it says that the lease auto-renews each year if you do not notify them in writing by X days prior to the end of the lease period that you wish to cancel. Such a clause is legally valid.
That would be a ONE YEAR lease with option to renew year-to-year, and with you exercising that option if you do not cancel. Whether it is also enforceable depends on whether there was a valid execution of the lease. Any lease that will or might last for more than one year must be in writing, signed, and have two witnesses.
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A: There is no law preventing any property from being rented or leased longer than any certain number of years. Real property can be leased or rented sequentially for as many years as the parties agree. Moreover, in business leases it is very common to have annual leases that renew every year--without notice from either party to either party.
Charles M. Baron agrees with this answer
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A: It depends on the exact terms under the original written contract. You should speak with an attorney who can review the express terms of the lease with you, including lease renewals. Generally though, if there is renewal language, you have not vacated, and you continue to make lease payments, you are assenting to the renovation of the lease.
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