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    Post: Rental Agreement

    Posted by Matt Gilchrist on 8/25/07

    I have a question relating to a landlord-tenant dispute in

    In July, I contacted someone looking to sub-let a room in
    my townhome. She stated that she was looking to move to
    this area from Colorado, and that she wanted a month-to-
    month arrangement, in that she was looking to sell her
    home, but did not know how long it would take. We agreed
    on a monthly rent of $650, to include rent and utilities.
    She agreed orally on the price, and I agreed with the
    monthly-arrangement. She said that she would be moving in
    at the beginning of August. She said on the phone that even
    though she had not seen my home, she figured that worse
    comes to worse, she could always put up with anything for
    at least a month. I agreed that she could sign a rental
    agreement when she arrived. She reserved the room for
    August by promptly sending me a personal check for $650 (or
    one month's rent). I also agreed that because she was
    trying to save money, I would not charge any other security

    She moved in on August 3rd, or the first Saturday of the
    month. In advance of moving in, she had had several boxes
    of her personal things shipped ahead, as well as a bed and
    mattress delivered, the latter of which I actually stayed
    home for two week days waiting for a delivery for. Almost
    immediately from when she moved in, she started to
    complain. While I do not believe I misrepresented anything
    at all, it was clear that she was not pleased with the size
    of the room, the size of the closet, the temperature of the
    room (it was in the midst of a heat wave, and the room was
    on the top floor, and a tad bit stuffy). After a couple of
    days, she complained about the length of commute she was
    making. On her first weekend, she mentioned that this
    would never due. I offered her the choice to stay in the
    basement, where there was more room, but no private
    bathroom. She chose not to accept.

    Due to conflicting schedules, we saw very little of each
    other the first weekend. On Monday, I presented her with a
    copy of the rental agreement I had drafted. It was simple
    in nature, and more or less clarified the stipuations which
    we discussed on the phone, and I offered her the option of
    discussing any parts that she might not understand or agree
    with. She took the agreement and said that she would look
    over it.

    On Wednesday night/Thursday morning, I received an email
    from her, stating that she had decided "not to accept my
    offer". She said that she had located a new home, and
    would move out that Saturday morning. We did not have any
    further discussion about it, although I did email her back,
    stating that I was sorry to hear that she was not
    comfortable, and that I understood that she had to do what
    she wanted to. She promptly moved, and left her key, and
    cleaned out all of her possessions.

    A week later, she emailed me, giving a mailing address
    where I could send her a prorated refund of her rent. I
    was surprised at such a request, in that I felt that she
    unilaterally decided to move. I did not feel as though I
    misrepresented anything, provided full access to my home in
    good faith, and that it was her choice to abandon the
    room. Leaving in the middle of the month essentially did
    not permit me to immediately find a new roommate. While I
    understand that it is not her concern, I also did not have
    her rent any longer, having applied it to the monthly rent
    at the beginning of the month.

    My question is this: Without having a rental contract ever
    signed, is the oral agreement, accompanied by a check for
    the month of August, an implied agreement that she would be
    renting for the whole month, whether she stayed or not? It
    is my feeling that we never once discussed any sort of
    daily/weekly rate, and as such when a monthly rent is
    discussed, does that imply that it would be for the entire
    month, whether she stays or not? I would contend that
    without agreeing to an alterior agreement, such an oral
    agreement would suggest that her decision not to stay would
    imply that she is abandoning her rent for the month.

    In the end, would the law of Virginia (or anywhere else)
    suggest that I owe her the prorated portion of the rent, or
    am I justified in my understanding?

    Posts on this thread, including this one
  • Rental Agreement, 8/25/07, by Matt Gilchrist.
  • Re: Rental Agreement, 8/25/07, by --.

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