Oral agreement for lease of one year or less is enforceable

Oral agreement for lease of one year or less is enforceable

Q. Is an oral lease valid? I want to move early but my landlord says we have a valid lease for a year.

A. An oral lease for a year or less is just as enforceable as a written lease. Of course, the person who is trying to enforce the lease must prove the oral agreement exists. Maybe you can get the landlord to agree to terminate the lease early by forfeiting the security deposit or paying a month’s rent. If the landlord does not agree to terminate the lease, you may owe damages for moving out early.


Q. My boyfriend and I bought a house two years ago. We recently broke up, and he kept the house. He has been late on the mortgage payment, and the bank is now calling me. How do I get my name off this loan?

A. As you have discovered, signing a loan with another person can have serious legal consequences. Whether it is buying a house or co-signing for a car, the simple answer is that you can’t get your name removed from the loan unless the other person refinances in his own name or the lender agrees to release you. The fact that you are no longer together is between you and your boyfriend. It does not affect your liability to the bank.


Q. Can I name my husband as executor of my will if he is also going to be the beneficiary?

A. This is a very common question from people who are preparing a will. A person who is a beneficiary may also serve as executor. In fact, it is common for a spouse to be both a beneficiary and executor. Almost anyone may serve as the executor of a will. Basically, the only people who may not serve as executors are minors, incompetents, convicted felons and others a court finds unsuitable.


Q. I buy lottery tickets every week. If I win the lottery, does my spouse have any interest in the money I win?

A. Assuming you purchased the ticket with money you earned while you were married, the lottery winnings would be considered community property, jointly owned by you and your spouse. The only exception would be if you have a premarital agreement saying otherwise.


Q. What is a Power of Attorney for Health Care?

A. This is a document that allows you to designate another person to make medical decisions regarding your health care in the event you are unable to do so. For a free copy of a Medical Power of Attorney for Health Care, check out the “Legal Topics” section my website www.peopleslawyer.net.


Q. I defaulted on a credit card ten years ago. I was never sued and I thought everything had gone away. I now have a collection agency threatening to again report the debt to the credit bureau because they are not the original creditor. I worked for seven years to maintain good credit. Will this now be put back on my credit report?

A. This is called “re-aging,” and the debt collector cannot do it. As you seem to understand, negative information stays on your report for seven years. After that, the information is considered “obsolete” and generally cannot be reported. The seven-years period, however, runs from the original debt. The fact the debt is sold or assigned to a debt collector does not start the clock running again.

I suggest you let the debt collector know that you believe its threat to place the information back on your credit report violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This is the federal law that protects you against abusive, harassing and deceptive debt collection tactics. If it has been reported, contact the credit bureau and let them know this is all the same debt and you want it removed.