My landlord recently wrote me and my roommates saying that we had a couple of weeks to decide whether or not we wanted to re-sign our lease for next school year. We had only been settled into our new home for a few weeks when we got the message. Classes had just begun, football games were being played, and I was still trying to buy all the things I need to live. Needless to say, we weren’t ready to make another year long financial commitment.
The landlord made us this offer only 30 days after the start of our lease. The message had all the hallmarks of a well-seasoned sales pitch. They told us how thankful they were that we were their residents, and they kindly wanted to give us dibs to renew our lease and keep the house for another year. I haven’t lived in my place long enough to know if I want to keep it for another year. However, the landlord informed us that they would soon start parading prospective tenants through the property, and we lose the guarantee to sign for another year.
Does this story sound familiar to you? Don’t worry, the City of Ann Arbor has your back. This practice by landlords is not only unethical, but it is also illegal in Ann Arbor. If you are being pressured by your landlord to sign now, remind them about the Early Leasing Ordinance. According to Ann Arbor’s Code of Ordinances 8:530:
“A landlord of residential premises shall not: (a) Enter the leased premises for the purpose of showing the premises to prospective tenants until 70 days of the current lease period has passed; or (b) Enter into an agreement to rent the leased premises to another tenant for a subsequent lease period until 70 days of the current lease period has passed.”
If you want to learn more about Ann Arbor’s municipal code, check out this online library resource.
You can also check out the Beyond the Diag website for more information on this rule.
Ann Arbor also requires landlords to provide tenants a "Rights and Duties of Tenants" booklet where more information can be found.
Be sure to communicate with your landlord in person and in writing that you would like more time to consider their offer. Then, spend some time enjoying your home and thinking about where to live next year. Get to know your roommates better and learn more about the community around you. Don’t feel pressured to jump right back into your lease just yet. If your lease began in late August or early September, you’ve still got plenty of time to resign!
-Contributed by Stephen Philippou, Neighborhood Ambassador-Oxbridge