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REAL ESTATE : RENT IT RIGHT

Stretching boundaries of 'house rules'

September 28, 2008|Janet Portman | Inman news

Question: When we moved in, our landlord gave us a yearlong lease that had just the basics. It also had a paragraph saying that we agreed to abide by the "House Rules," which could be changed at any time. Last week, our landlord gave us a new set of rules. They've reduced the pool hours, are charging for parking and have doubled the late fees. We feel that the landlord shouldn't be able to impose these changes mid-lease. What do you think?

Answer: House rules are not the place to set and change major policies, such as things that most tenants and landlords would expect to find in a lease. It appears that your landlord is taking advantage of the inherent flexibility of house rules to make changes that should be in an amended rental agreement or a new lease.

A judge probably would not enforce a late-fee policy, for example, that a landlord tried to insert in the house rules.

-- Janet Portman, Inman news

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E-mail Janet Portman at janet@inman.com.

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