Just learned landlord broke contract, what can we do, after the fact?

We moved into a rental home a few years ago, 2003 to be exact. The contract stated that the rent would be 800 amonth and after a year if a new contract was not signed it would go to a month to month at 825. Shortly after the year, we signed a new agreement, with 800 a month on it. Shortly there after we got a notice stating we owed 900 a month, vice the written 825. It took months for the landlord to give us our copy of the new agreement, probabbly because they new the 900 was above the agreed amount. Can they do that legally? Raise the rent above a written / signed agreed amount? Is it worth bugging out about? We paid the extra 75, so as to not get kicked out.

What state every state is a little different!!

Also I am going to move this to landlord fourm you will get better answers!

Hey, mapache – this is my second reply – I am sure I posted as the thread was being moved. And my last post was SO good LOL.

You signed a second lease but didn’t receive a copy at the time of signing? Learn that lesson and tell any landlord you’ll go with them to make a copy right then and there from this time forward. Since you are visiting this forum, you’ll learn how to buy your own home very quickly. If I understand you correctly, the agreed upon monthly rent was $800/mo. on your signed agreement. However, when you received your copy the amount was raised by $100? If what you are saying is true, this is fraud no matter what state you are in. A lease is a written contract and written contracts cannot be changed without both parties agreeing to the change – Judge Judy would have a ball with this one. IMHO You need to contact a lawyer, but you don’t have any proof of what you signed – thus a problem, you may have just learned a $1,200 lesson.

This is exactly why I bring two full copies of my lease to all signings. I fill them both out in front of my tenant (minimal writing lol), and make my tenants review the document, while I’m standing there. Then I ask if they have any questions and ask them to initial each page of both copies. They get one and I leave with the other.

You’ve posted where there are a lot of experts. I cannot wait to read their replies.

Good luck to you.

I bring two, do all the signatures, and then let THEM chose which one they would like – that way they know they’re the same!


you said it took a couple of months to get a copy of the new agreement. so what is on it??? 800?825? 900?

If the document has been altered after you signed that is fraud; however cahllenging that in court will cost money. If it says it $800 then that is what you should pay regardless of what the landlord says verbally. This will put a chill on your relationship with them, but I do not see anyway they can evict you or otherwise force you out. However, they may choose not to renew your lease when it expires.

what is the landlords explaination for the higher rent???is there some details missing here???

I guess this needs to be explained abit more. State is Florida, County is Santa Rosa. We moved in at 800/mo in Aug 2003 and received our copy of the lease for one year. If we chose not to sign a new lease after the one year, rent would go to a month by month basis at 825/mo. In Aug or Sept 2004 we signed a new lease via mail (owners moved to the state capital), new lease was identical to the 1st lease at 800/mo same 825 stipulation. In January 2005 not even 6 months into the new lease, we received a letter stating that their taxes and insurance went up due to Hurricane Ivan so raised our rent to 900 and began pestering us for a move out date as they wanted to sell the home and take their proceeds. (Ivan caused lots of damage and anyone with a good home saw buyers paying abuot $50K more than before Ivan). We reluctantly paid the extra 100 each month, even though we had a signed lease at 800/mo for the entire year through August of 2005. Because the new lease was signed via mail, they never sent our copy signe by them until we hounded them via email and phone for roughly 4 months. (they kept having excuses). We ended up moving out in June, so we paid them an extra $600. We had minor damage to the kitchen floor, which we had OUR insurance company payout on, they took the $2,000 and did nothing to the home. We called our insurance company to be sure that we would leave the house like we moved in and would still be able to get our $800. security deposit back.

So here we are, out an additional 700 and still are waiting for our security deposit check back… bringing us to $1500 we would like to go after if legally possible. We have “Pre-Paid legal” so having an attorney send them a nasty gram is not a problem and won’t cost us but a few dollars.

Can landlords raise a lease price when ever? Seems to me that they would have to wait until the lease expired and then update the monthly rent prior to signing a new lease. Am I understanding this correctly?

Suggestions and advice are much appreciated! (We are buying a home this time, and hope to NEVER rent again.)


a lease is binding so their increase in the rent is not valid; howver since you paid it, some judges might consider that a verbal agreement to amend the contract. The fact that their taxes and insurance went up is not your problem as a renter. The fact that thye hassled you to try and get you to move out may be a violation of state law.

Next, the failure to return your deposit is probably also a violation of state law. As an example, in Calif (hwere I am), they have huge penalties for not returning deposits. You probably can collect interest on the unpaid balance.

Porbably the best route is go to small claims c ourt. You do not need an attorney for this and cost a minal fee to file (in most states) and you will get in front of a judge in 30-60 days. Ask for the entire amt plus an expenses incurred. If you win (which you should), then immediately go and record the judgement at the county recorder’s office. Collecting on judgements is a pain in the butt, but by recording it will attach to an real property (like the house you rented) and it will force the payment of the judgement prior to any sale or refi.

Your pre-paid legal should be able to give details of what you rneed to do with respect to your state laws. the first step is to send the offical “you owe me money letter” and cite any laws they have violated. Spent $15 to send it FedEx and sign the blank that requires a signature for delivery. This will be useful when you get to court.