Posted by James Shoo on September 10, 2000 at 15:33:53:
In Reply to: Landlord wants us to pay half to get 12' hedges pruned.... posted by Jessica on September 07, 2000 at 19:17:52:
There are two issues here: what happens during the lease, and what happens when the lease expires. Even if you win during the lease period, the landlord has basically an unlimited right to refuse to renew your lease when it expires. (I'm assuming you are not in a rent-protected area.) He could even change the renewal lease to make it absolutely clear the hedges are your responsibility, take it or leave it. So starting with the next lease in December, whoever is living in your house will be responsible for cutting the hedges.
What happens during the lease period is another issue. The retaliatory act clause has nothing to do with this situation. The landlord is arguing that you refused to abide by the lease, and therefore he has a right to eject you just as if you didn't do "regular mowing". The basic concept is that if a tenant breaks a rule, the landlord can evict. Your argument I imagine is that the lease doesn't mention hedges. It would all come down to the judge/jury's opinion on whether the language in the lease includes hedges. If they agree with the landlord he can evict, if they agree with you, then the landlord has no right to add rules during the term of the lease and no right to evict you before the end of November.
Since you are so near the end of your lease, and even nearer to the time of giving 30 or 60 day notice of renewal, I think the most important question is whether you want to renew your lease or leave at the end of November. If you want to stay, you'll end up being responsible for hedges starting in December, so you may as well compromise or give in on hedge trimming in the next three months. If you're planning on leaving, then it makes more sense to fight the hedge cost. The question is whether the time and money of fighting is worth it. If you do decide to fight, it would probably help immensely to get legal advice, even if it is only half an hour of an attorney's time to guide you in representing yourself.
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