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2 current residents wanting to renew 4 bedroom apartment - Landlord not willing to accept renewal of lease

Hello Team,

Questions: Can a landlord refuse your request to renew your lease in a 4 bedroom apartment if you only have 2 residents staying (but are in the process of finding two other friends to join)?

(Please see point 29 below) --If our lease begins on Sept 1 2015 and end August 30th 2016, then aren’t we protected and able to find new tenants until we hit that 90 day mark (at which point the landlord could show the property? The middle of April is almost 150 days out from the end of the lease.

Don’t we have until June 2nd to find 2 more roommates and then (by our signed lease) we would be required to inform our landlord of intention to renew/not renew?

Context: Three friends and myself signed a lease in Medford for a 4 bedroom apartment. One friend is getting married and moving out and another is not wanting to stay in Medford. I reached out to the apartment office to explain our situation after they had called to let us know we needed to find two others to fill the open spaces. I was told by the secretary that the real estate company/ landlord said that my friend and myself is not enough to consider a renewal of the lease and that they would be showing the apartment ASAP.

My friend pointed out that our lease states the following:

29. Additional Provisions:
Tenants agree to the following:
1. To give the landlord 90 days notification prior to lease expiration of intention to renew/not renew the lease and to allow the landlord and/or agents of the landlord to show the apartment.

Currently each of the two individuals we are talking to have seen the apartment and like it but are making sure they have all the details they need (one person’s company is relocating to Boston, and will know about their confirmed position in May) before agreeing to a lease.

I feel that they are not giving us enough time to renew our lease, but is this a problem because it is only 2 people from the original lease wanting to renew?

We are all young professionals with great credit and steady jobs, and two of us have already been living there! I do not understand why they will not honor us as the incumbent and are already moving forward on showing the apartment.

Any insight would be helpful because they said they would be showing our apartment this weekend.

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Submitted Sat, 04/23/2016 - 08:54

Thank you for your question.

I'm not sure if you had a lawyer review your lease with you before you signed it, but I probably would have suggested that you clarify the language in Paragraph 29 concerning renewal. Your lease requires you to provide notice of your intention to renew, but it does not say that the landlord must renew or that you will be permitted to renew. I think the best reading of that provision is that renewal is discretionary. At best, the provision is ambiguous.

In the end, everything is negotiable! Prove you are ready willing and able to sign and pay. Prove you are good tenants and maybe even up the rent a little.

One final caveat - I have not read your lease agreement and so my answer here is based solely on the information you provided.

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