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Old 02-08-2011, 09:16 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Belarus
Default A troubling lease clause

I just moved into a new place, and the lease seems normal except for one clause which appears designed to confuse and obfuscate it's true purpose.
The Lessee hereby irrevocably constitutes any attorney of any court of record in this state, attorney for Lessee in Lessee's name, on default by Lessee of any of the covenants herein, and upon any complaint made by Lessor, his agent or assigns, and filed in any such court to enter Lessee's appearance in any such court of record, waive process and service thereof, and confess judgement, from time to time, for any rent which may be due lessor, or the lessor's assignees, by the terms of this lease, with costs and a reasonable sum for attorney's fees, and to waive all errors and all right of appeal from said judgement, and to consent in writing that a writ of execution may be issued immediately.
It seems like your standard legal mumbo-jumbo, but the wording is very much more complicated than any of the other clauses, and the repeated uses of 'waive' and 'right of appeal' are troubling. Before I sign this could anyone with some legal knowledge attempt to clarify this for me? My new landlord claimed that she didn't write it and doesn't fully comprehend it herself, but I want to be sure I'm not signing away any serious rights.
Pouttskaste is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 09:17 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Gibraltar

have no legal experience, but from attempting to read the language I gather that this pretty much means:

Regardless of who or what (and where or when) you have acting on your behalf, this applies to YOU. In the event your ass is late on rent, we can get a court order to take the rent money directly out of your accounts plus any additional money that it took to get the court order, attorneys, etc in order for us to collect.

I could be totally misunderstanding it, but that's what I gather. Obviously that wouldn't mean they'd go after it if you are a day late... a clause like that would exist for an event that they evict you after months of non-payment, and then still need to collect all the rent you owe.

What I DO know about contracts (having had to sign many for various consulting jobs), is that if the terms of a contract are illegal then they cannot be made to apply to you. For example if a non-compete agreement says you cannot work for a competitor forever after you quit this job... it can be thrown out or limited to something more reasonable (no longer than a year). I'm not saying that you should sign anything blindly, but you are still protected by tons of tenant rights no matter what you may sign that says the contrary.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:17 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA

Look into the state laws, and laws in the city you live in. For example, here in California that kind of verbiage is great and all, but state law still limits what they can come after you for, and if you live in say, San Francisco or Berkeley, it's even more limited by local laws.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:17 PM   #4
Bill N
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Algeria

Yeah... make sure you live in a state where those are unenforceable...

Because, as I read this (I am not a lawyer), it says that if the person you are leasing from, or any other person that they choose, sues you for any reason over rent that is due, that you agree to "confess" that they are right, and you give up:

your right to a trial
your right to make a defense of any sort
your right to question the amount of the damages requested by the person suing you
your right to question or appeal the "decision" reached by the court
your right to correct any errors made by either the person "suing" you or the court

I expect that every state has some limitations in how enforceable this is. In most states, it's probably totally unenforceable, but I bet that even where it is, there are limits, because it is so broad as to allow your landlord to sue you for any amount at any time for any reason, provided that you owe rent at the time.

Again. I am not a lawyer, if you intend to not pay your lease on time (or have already not paid on time), you might need one.
Bill N is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 09:18 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2011

I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's there to scare you in the event of late rent, but any tenants rights group in your area will be able to tell you exactly how enforceable it can be.

The only way this might become something hairy is if the landlord takes their sweet time getting a window or stove properly fixed, and you pull a typical move of just hiring somebody to get it done, and taking the cost out of your next rent check. Something they may dispute and if they're hard-nosed about it will take you to court over and waive this in your face.

You can get over any fears about that by just knocking on a few of your would be neighbor's doors and asking them how the landlord is when it comes to that kind of thing.
leonaiguana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2011, 06:15 AM   #6
Join Date: Feb 2011

Individuals called to or entering active duty have the right to terminate a lease for a family dwelling, a business, or for an agricultural purpose provided the lease was entered into prior to entering active duty and the leased premises was occupied by the service member, or the service memberís dependents.
ronicolman is offline   Reply With Quote
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