Terminating a lease

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MidwestMike
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Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:12 pm

Terminating a lease

Post by MidwestMike » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:56 pm

Relatives of mine signed an apartment lease for two years. They are leaving after sixteen months as they are buying a house. What options do they have other than paying for the remaining eight months in full?

BeneIRA
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Re: Terminating a lease

Post by BeneIRA » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:58 pm

MidwestMike wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:56 pm
Relatives of mine signed an apartment lease for two years. They are leaving after sixteen months as they are buying a house. What options do they have other than paying for the remaining eight months in full?
In the lease they signed, it mentions what happens when you are terminating a lease early. Some states, such as Florida, give you a choice when you sign the lease. Some say two months rent, others say until they find a new tenant. Read the lease.

tim1999
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Re: Terminating a lease

Post by tim1999 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:20 pm

Y
BeneIRA wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:58 pm
MidwestMike wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:56 pm
Relatives of mine signed an apartment lease for two years. They are leaving after sixteen months as they are buying a house. What options do they have other than paying for the remaining eight months in full?
In the lease they signed, it mentions what happens when you are terminating a lease early. Some states, such as Florida, give you a choice when you sign the lease. Some say two months rent, others say until they find a new tenant. Read the lease.
Some states also have laws stating that the landlord must make a good faith attempt to find a new tenant and can only hold you responsible for the rent from the time you leave until the new tenant's lease starts. Unless the property is very difficult to rent, most landlords who aren't completely angry/stubborn all the time will want to get a new tenant in the unit and paying rent ASAP.

Worst case, you can always try negotiating with the landlord. They may be willing to accept, for example, you forfeiting your deposit and paying a month of future rent immediately upon vacating vs. having to take you to court to collect the remaining months on the lease.

Topic Author
MidwestMike
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Re: Terminating a lease

Post by MidwestMike » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:25 pm

Their apartment is in St. Louis Missouri.

z91
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Re: Terminating a lease

Post by z91 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:06 pm

MidwestMike wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:25 pm
Their apartment is in St. Louis Missouri.
Still doesn't really help IMO. You might be able to find out local ordinances, but there could still be something in the contract that makes it hairy. You will need to get a copy and review it.

IMO
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Re: Terminating a lease

Post by IMO » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:36 am

MidwestMike wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:56 pm
Relatives of mine signed an apartment lease for two years. They are leaving after sixteen months as they are buying a house. What options do they have other than paying for the remaining eight months in full?
Give the landlord notice. The landlord cannot just sit on a vacant rental for 8 months and still collect rent. He/she must make reasonable efforts to re-rent the place. Will they be out some money? Possibly, the landlord has to take some time to get the unit reasonable ready to rent and has to start showing the unit within a reasonable time frame (lets say 2 months total time?). It is best to try to work with the landlord to allow the place to be re-shown to potential new tenants (harder with Covid nowadays). If taken to court, a judge would have to decide how much time was reasonable to get the place re-rented.

Leases only really protect the tenants from getting a 30 day notice and/or having the rent raised in short notice or from easily getting evicted for a variety of valid reasons. I personally just start with a 6 month lease and then month to month for however long (typically it goes for years and years). When a tenant needs/wants to leave, I want it to be something that works out for both parties without complicating things.

Also push for as long of an escrow as possible before closing. Some sellers actually want additional time to move out.

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galawdawg
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Re: Terminating a lease

Post by galawdawg » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:35 am

They should review their lease for any provisions concerning early termination. Such a provision would apply.

If there is no early termination clause, they would be liable for the remainder of the lease term, however, many jurisdictions require the landlord to mitigate damages. If that is the case, the landlord would be required to make a good faith effort to rent the unit as soon as practicable and your family member's liability would then be the rent for the period of vacancy plus reasonable expenses incurred, if any, in leasing the unit prior to the scheduled expiration date.

IANYL.

tim1999
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Re: Terminating a lease

Post by tim1999 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:40 am

I'll add that not too long ago I got out of 4 months remaining on a house lease by telling the landlord I was vacating at the end of the month (telling, not asking) and offering to let him keep my one-month security deposit. This was in a red hot rental market where he could easily find a qualified new tenant in a week, I had kept the place in excellent condition with no chargeable damages, and I was current on rent through the end of that month. I know he charged the new tenant $100 more per month than I was paying, so it was a win-win for both of us. This was in a state that requires the landlord to mitigate damages in an early lease break situation.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Terminating a lease

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:26 am

General steps to follow.

1. Read lease agreement in detail.
1b. Consider any verbal or additional emails, conversations, etc, with the landlord regarding tenancy.
2. Read local "landlord tenant code". You will find it online in public/agency sites as well as the local National Association of Realtor's websites for that state and local.
3. Seek local legal counsel for confirmation of the above and options available. (do not have legal counsel contact landlord or mention "legal counsel" yet. This is just to learn about what is legal and available to you as a tenant per lease agreement and local codes and general landlord practices. (these vary by area, and person).
4. Contact landlord and "talk it over", find out options. Explain situation nicely.
5. Repeat #3 as needed.
6. Repeat #4 as needed.

Every single rental situation is different according to location, local landlord/tenant codes and practices, and relationship between landlord and tenant, and nature of the tenant, and nature of the landlord.. . .
. . . and the "lease agreement/contract".

Everyone has different experiences in these things.

j :happy
Last edited by Sandtrap on Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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willthrill81
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Re: Terminating a lease

Post by willthrill81 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:02 am

The lease documents will specify how the lease can be prematurely terminated, if at all.

When we once got out of a one year lease on an apartment, we had six months remaining and had to pay a fee equal to three months' rent. It was pretty ridiculous considering that the rental market was strong and they probably rented our apartment out in under one month, but that's what we signed, so we had to pay it.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

mnsportsgeek
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Re: Terminating a lease

Post by mnsportsgeek » Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:58 pm

Like others have said, read the lease. Every lease I’ve signed had a cancellation fee of 1-2 months rent.

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