Q: My daughter and her two roommates signed a lease to move into a new townhouse in the Uptown area of Minneapolis on Nov. 1. They gave notice at their current apartment to vacate Oct. 31. The women recently received an e-mail from their new landlord, stating their new rental townhouse would not be ready until Nov. 15. My daughter and her roommates’ lease states that the townhouse is available for rent starting Nov. 1. Fortunately, they are all from the Twin Cities so they were able to move home in the meantime. However, the delay required them to move their belongings from their previous three-bedroom apartment to another location, plus then make an additional move into the townhouse. Are my daughter and her roommates entitled to any compensation?
A: Since your daughter and her two roommates’ lease states the townhouse is available for move-in on Nov. 1, but it wasn’t ready, they do have a few options. One option would have been to check with their current landlord to see if they could remain in their apartment for two additional weeks. If the women have been good tenants, and the landlord doesn’t have anyone moving in right away, they could work out an arrangement to stay in their current apartment and pay half a month’s rent in order to avoid moving twice.
Your daughter and roommates also should contact their new landlord with an agreement to pay only half their rent for November, get it in writing and signed by all parties involved. If your daughter and her roommates were not able to stay two additional weeks in their previous apartment and needed to move home, they should still contact their new landlord at the townhouse and get a signed agreement in place to pay for only half the month of November.
I would also request that the landlord pay some moving expenses, since the three women were required to move twice. Remember to tell your daughter and her roommates that any agreement to pay less rent for one month, and any agreement about reimbursement for moving expenses needs to be in writing and signed by the tenants and landlord involved. The agreement can be handwritten or typed by the women, and must be signed by the tenants and the landlord.
Kelly Klein is a Minneapolis attorney. Participation in this column does not create an attorney/client relationship with Klein. Do not rely on advice in this column for legal opinions. Consult an attorney regarding your particular issues. E-mail renting questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Kelly Klein c/o Star Tribune, 650 3rd Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Information provided by readers is not confidential.