16 February, 2008

Why you should read your lease before signing it... and more [Reposted from Facebook]

Location: Middle of Nowhere

Well, I am someone who doesn’t really pay much attention to legal documents that require a signature. I just assume that the document is written according to some established standard, and that nobody would try to sneak something by me. And why is that? Because I try to be honest myself, and therefore, I trust people in the way that I would hope to be trusted myself.

And this will cost me no less than $400. Probably more.

Washington State Law for Landlord/Tenant relationship says that you must give 20 days written notice before the end of a rental. However, my landlord wrote our lease saying that this shall be 30 days. And I signed it.

Therefore, when I gave my notice on February 5th (upon buying a place), I *should* have been free and clear from financial obligation beyond the end of this month. But, instead, I am probably going to be held responsible for 30 days. And even then I am at the mercy of whether or not he decides to refund my rent, or find other ways of keeping it.

There is a whole lot more insanity to this story… but I think I will save that for a separate blog.

The moral of the story here is that people can write what they want in documents. And no matter how “standard” or “official” something looks, you should always read it, because you could choose to do “line-item veto” of anything you don’t like in the document, if it is not based around standard practices.

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