Housing Consumer Education June 2012 Newsletter
Breaking Your lease
(From MassLegal Help)
If you have a written lease and you want to move out permanently, ask yourself 2 questions: When is my lease supposed to end? When do I want to move out?
- Moving at the end of your lease:
A written lease must include the date your tenancy ends. If it does not include an end date, the lease is invalid. If your lease is valid and you plan to leave on the date it ends, you need to know if it is a ‘self-extending lease’. A self-extending lease has an end date, but you still have to write to your landlord to end the lease. Your landlord can also write to you and end the lease. If neither writes, the lease does not end. Typically a lease that is self-extending will say something like,’… this lease will continue in full force and effect after the above term from year to year unless the Lessor or the Lessee on or before the first day of the month in any year, gives to the other written notice of intention to terminate…’
If you have a self-extending lease, you must give your landlord notice that you are leaving. Your notice must be in writing and you must deliver it to the landlord by a certain date.
Check your lease to see when and how you need to give the landlord this notice. Usually, the lease requires one month notice. If you do not notify your landlord properly that you are leaving, your landlord may be able to hold you responsible for paying rent after you move out.
- Moving Before End of Lease
If you want to break your lease and move out before it ends, the situation is somewhat tougher. When you sign a lease, you agree to pay the landlord rent for the length of the lease. Your lease may have a clause about leaving before the end of the lease. The clause may say that you are responsible for the rent after you leave. Despite this clause, there are a number of ways you can end your tenancy. Each has risks in terms of your responsibility for rent.
▪ The landlord agrees to you moving out. If the landlord agrees, write a letter right away stating that you are ‘surrendering’ the apartment. Ask for written acceptance of the surrender. You must use these specific words. Then ask the landlord to write back to you saying they have agreed to your leaving by a specific date. Once you get this letter, you are not responsible for the rent after you leave.
▪ The landlord refuses to make repairs. The conditions in your apartment have to be major violations of the Sanitary Code. If you have notified the landlord or a housing inspector about the bad conditions, and the landlord has not repaired them promptly, you can end the lease legally.
▪ You assign your lease to another person. Check your lease before deciding to assign
▪ You simply leave running the risks that the landlord will probably keep your security deposit and may sue you or hold you responsible for the rent until another tenant moves in.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LEASE:
▪ Give your landlord proper notice. You must write to your landlord at least one full rental period or 30 days which ever is longer before moving. To be safe, it is a good idea to deliver the notice yourself. Send a notice by mail and by certified mail in case the landlord refuses to sign for the certified letter.
Lowell Farmer’s Market
The Lowell Farmer’s Market will be starting in July. WIC Farmer Market checks will be available for participants on Thursday, July 12 at the Lowell Community Health Center office. Participants will also have the opportunity to pick up checks on Friday July 13 at the Kirk Street office and the Phoenix Avenue office.
Participants over the age of 6 months on the date of pick-up will receive $20.00 worth of checks.
For further information, call 978-454-6397
More Than Wheels
Need a car but can’t afford the repairs and poor gas mileage of your unreliable car? Think that past credit problems leave you with no option but to pay excessive interest rates? Worry that your job or health is suffering because of transportation issues?
More Than Wheels is an award-winning, not-for-profit that helps customers get the best deal on a reliable, fuel-efficient car. Call 1-866-455-2522 or apply on line for admittance to the More Than Wheels Program. More Than Wheels currently serves all of New Hampshire and adjoining areas of Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts.
NEARLISTINGS.ORG is a new service provided by Community Teamwork whereby landlords and tenants can hook up. Landlords have access to the site in order to post new apartment listings. Tenants can go on and search for an apartment that suits their specific needs. There are currently 55 postings on the site from Lowell and from surrounding communities. The listings give very detailed information about the available units and often have photographs showing the interior of the units.
Every other Thursday for 2 hours from 5:30 to 7:30 PM . To register, call 978-0600 x3
Employment and Training
1st and 3rd Wednesdays 10AM -11 AM
To register for a workshop, call 978-654-6691.
Subsidized Housing Workshops June 7 2:00(English);
June 14 5:30 PM (English)
June 21 Wed. 2 PM (Spanish);
June 28 Wed.11 AM(English)
Eviction Process & Tenants Rights Workshop
June 14 and 28 1-2 PM
GED Classes—Ongoing Enrollment Contact Yolande Pere at 978-654-5719 or Yolande Pere at 978-654-5719.
Veteran’s Benefits Workshop
Tue June 13; Tue June 27 10-11 AM
STEPS to HOME: A 5 or 2 mile walk through downtown Lowell to benefit the Lowell Transitional Living Center. Sunday, June 10 from 10:30 AM. Registration fee is $25, $12 for students. Registration forms and sponsor sheets are available at www.LTLC.org/StepsToHome or by calling 617-755-2562.
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS:
Adult Education of Lowell: 978-937-8989
Amesbury Community Action 978-282-1000
Bonnie CLAC (Car Loans) 1-866-455-2522
Cambodian Mutual Asso. 978-454-6200
Catholic Charities (Lowell) 978-452-1421
Catholic Charities (Lawrence) 978-685-5930
Chelmsford Housing Authority 978-256-7425
Christmas in April 978-458-7816
Coalition for a Better Acre 978-970-0600
Community Action of Haverhill 978-373-1971
Community Action of Lawrence 978-681-4900
Elder Services of Merrimac Valley 978-683-7747
Good Walk Friday 978-927-5847
GRIP Project 978-458-3622
Harvard Vanguard Chelmsford 978-250-6000
Household Goods Ministry 978-635-1739