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My lease states the following:

LEASE TERM. The initial term of the Lease Contract begins on the 12th day of October, 2019 and ends at midnight the 11th day of October, 2020. This Lease Contract will automatically renew (see section 15) unless either party gives at least days written notice of termination or intent to move-out as required by paragraph 37. If the number of days isn’t filled in, at least 60 days notice is required.

I was unaware of an auto-renewal clause in my contract didn't give written notice of cancellation until 9/8/20 (deadline was 8/12/20). Now my complex is trying to stick me with a huge bill to buyout the new lease contract, which begins 10/12. How would this contract renewal likely be interpreted under MI law? It does not explicitly define the exact duration(e.g. begins 10/12/20 and ends 10/12/21) of the auto renewal and section 15 makes no reference to the matter. If not explicitly stated, I believe an auto renewal by default in MI would move month to month. Would this qualify?

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I believe an auto renewal by default in MI would move month to month. Would this qualify?

Not really. The closest to the constraint you have in mind is MCL 554.601a. You would need to meet condition (1)(a) or (1)(b) of that statute.

I was unaware of an auto-renewal clause in my contract

If you signed the lease, the fact-finder will have to reach the conclusion that --from a legal standpoint-- you were aware of the clause even if in reality you were not. Hence the importance of making sure one fully understands the contents of a contract prior to entering it.

How would this contract renewal likely be interpreted under MI law?

At the outset, an interpretation of that clause would favor the landlord's position insofar as you failed to provide the requisite 60-day notice.

The reference to section 15 prompts the question of whether something therein could make a difference, but you only mention that it "makes no reference to the matter". Therefore, based on the information you provide, it appears that unfortunately there is nothing you can do other than try persuading the landlord to be lenient.

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  • The new contract has yet to commence, it begins 10/12. I gave written notice that will be leaving the new lease on 11/8/20 and delivered that information in writing 9/8/20, fulfilling the 60d obligation. "This Lease Contract will automatically renew" could be argued as somewhat ambiguous as it does not define the duration of the rollover...month-to-month, 6m, 1y? I am trying to understand if that argument will hold weight to a judge. My hopes is that I will be merely defined as merely "holding out" on the original lease, thereby being classified as a month-to-month tenant.
    – Jayyy777
    Sep 25 '20 at 2:56
  • The tricky part is that my landlord tried to deliver me a new contract with new terms 55 days before the lease expiration. The original contract specified the landlord could do this even without my written consent, so long as it was delivered 5 days before the 60d deadline. They did not fulfill their end, so I believe this new lease contract to be nonbinding. However, even though this new contract is void, i am uncertain if the original one to be controlling under the old provisions throughout an entire whole year, or just month to month given lack of clarification
    – Jayyy777
    Sep 25 '20 at 3:16
  • A court would interpret “renewal” as in the same terms including duration
    – Dale M
    Sep 25 '20 at 5:28
  • @Jayyy777 DaleM is right. Your mention of giving written notice on 11/8/20 and delivering "that information in writing" on 9/8/20 is contradictory (also, I had tried to make sense the sentence that begins with "I was unaware", but it certainly is confusing). When did the landlord receive your notice for the 1st time? That decides the 60-day issue. The "tricky part" you mention in your 2nd comment is impossible to assess without knowing the exact terms of the lease you signed and the new contract the landlord "tried" (and failed?/managed?) to deliver to you. Not enough information. Sep 25 '20 at 10:16
  • see link below for a full explanation of the circumstances. Not enough space to post in the comments section: pastebin.com/aBXyDrXp
    – Jayyy777
    Sep 25 '20 at 12:25

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