Civitella v. Sanchez
A court can find that tenants did not exercise an option in the lease to purchase the premises. In September 2009, the defendant tenants, Stacey and Robert Sanchez, allegedly agreed to pay $1,500 per month for 12 months, pursuant to a lease with an option to purchase the subject premises. The parties agreed to extend the lease. The plaintiff landlord sued the defendants, alleging that they did not pay rent between September 2010 and February 2011, and the landlord had to pay $550 to discard items that the defendants failed to remove when they vacated the premises. The plaintiff landlord alleged that the defendant tenants owed $9,000 in rent. The defendant tenants objected that they paid an extra $300 per month, which was intended to be used toward the purchase price. The court found that the defendant tenants did not exercise the option to purchase. The tenants did not pay rent between September 2010 and February 2011. The defendants were entitled to a set off in the amount of $4,500, as a result of the extra money that they paid during the month-to-month tenancy. The landlord was not entitled to $550 in damages, merely because the landlord discarded the items that the tenants failed to remove. The court subtracted $4,500 from $9,000 and granted judgment to the plaintiff in the amount of $4,500. The court did not award attorneys' fees and costs.