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Options in Terminating a Rental Lease?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by Pox in a box, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. Pox in a box

    Pox in a box 1K Member
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    I have a lease on an apartment that I really need to get out of for residency. Basically, the landlord says the penalties for the concessions I received at lease signing outweigh the cost of just sticking it out and holding the lease until the end of the contract (3 more months). I want out 2 months early. Do I have any recourse? Is there a possibility I can talk my way out of the lease considering what I pay (with concessions for being a med student) is considerably lower than the market value for the rental unit?

    TIA,
    pox
     
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  3. RustNeverSleeps

    RustNeverSleeps Walker, Texas Ranger
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    I think whether you can "talk your way out of it" really depends on your landlord. If he is a real stickler, probably not. If he is reasonable, maybe. Even though you get concessions for being a med student, it is still probably better for him to have you leasing it than to have it empty. One solution could be to find someone to take over your lease. Then you could get out of it hopefully with only paying a few hundred dollars extra.

    Check your lease - it should delineate what happens in cases like this, and will hopefully clarify what your options are.
     
  4. eastcoastyall

    eastcoastyall Wisdom Onslaught
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    Agreed with the above. There is often a monetary penalty for breaking the lease, and you are at baseline responsible for the remaining months. Often, if you break the lease in major cities, you also pay a percentage of the brokers fee for the next tenant. I would say that you should, if allowed, find a subletter for the remaining time. Otherwise you are SOL.
     
  5. EtOHWithdrawal

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    Try a landlord-tenants association in your state...they specialize in helping tenants break leases legally. Usually a paralegal tells you all your options and processes the paperwork for a fee.
     
  6. NERDY

    NERDY Member
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    What about finding a sublet person for the few months? I assume your place is near the med school, so maybe a student or resident in town for an away elective? Perhaps, someone who will be a first year won't mind starting his/her lease early and then continuing it, if your place is near the med school?

    Posting on CraigsList may help you find someone.

    good luck!
     
  7. MD Dreams

    MD Dreams Senior Member
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    I thought breaking a lease was simply a matter of paying a monetary fee. I don't think there are any repercussions after that. Maybe he/she means the fee will be greater than paying rent for the next three months. It should say in your contract. Maybe he/she is giving you a hard time because it's more work for him/her? I don't think the process needs to be complicated. Just my experience.
     
  8. RustNeverSleeps

    RustNeverSleeps Walker, Texas Ranger
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    I think this varies depending on the lease. Most landlords want to make it expensive enough to get out of a lease that it is financially and practically easier to finish the lease term. This may especially apply to the OP, since s/he is only looking to get out of the lease 2 months early and in addition to fees will likely 'lose' discounts on the rent as well.
     
  9. carrigallen

    carrigallen 16th centry dutch painter
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    Just sublet it for 3 months...seems to be the most straightforward and best solution. You could even offer a discount on the sublet price.
     
  10. Pox in a box

    Pox in a box 1K Member
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    Sub-leasing is specifically prohibited through the contract. I wish. I brought the fact up that you could go ahead and lease it out at market value (without my concessions) and this guy gave me the run-a-round that it costs >$1500 every time someone vacates. I told him "I'm vacating one way or another. You're still going to have these costs. Why not lease the place out and make more than you would off me?" Basically, he didn't get it.
     
  11. NERDY

    NERDY Member
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    Can you do a lease transfer? So, the new person takes over the 2-3 months you have left? Then, he/she can renew if needed.

    Maybe Law2Doc or other lawyer SDN members can help you.

    good luck.
     
  12. Pox in a box

    Pox in a box 1K Member
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    By this, do you mean that I need to recruit a person who is willing to stay for 14 months (instead of the usual 12 months)?
     
  13. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    Legally what is in the contract may not apply to you. For example in Philadelphia, the landlord cannot withhold more than the extra cost it cost him to turn the place over early. i.e. they can force you to keep paying rent if they can't get a new tenant by the time you vacate or they can attempt to get you for advertising costs, etc... But they can't just withhold arbitrary amounts simply because you broke the lease.

    However, you will likely have to go to court to fight these things. Large swaths of rental contracts I've signed are not legally enforceable, but the landlord wants to retain all rights they can and make everything as easy as possible for them. Since people don't know the law and it varies from place to place, people usually don't think about or fight these things. Your best option is to find an attorney who deals with these issues and pay some fee to get the real scoop on your options.
     
  14. Pox in a box

    Pox in a box 1K Member
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    The remainder of the lease (for the sum two months I'm wanting out) is only ~$1000 (~$500 each month), but it's money I'd rather not spend. Is it worth it to get an attorney's services? I am thinking no. Does anyone have any "lines" or legal jargon/buzzwords I could drop on the landlord/property manager that might work to let me out?
     
  15. vkrn

    vkrn Senior Member
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    Depends on what state you are in, or even city, but generally, landlords are required to use reasonable efforts to fill your impending vacancy, even if there is a "no sublet" clause, from my understanding. Typically you should make all efforts to do so as well, and landlords cannot unreasonably withold their approval.

    Do some Googling on the topic specifically for the state and city you are in. You're bound to find info.
     
  16. NERDY

    NERDY Member
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    Person A stays for June and July (the two months left) and "finishes" off the two months left of your lease. In July, person A can keep the lease for another year or move out, as you would have normally done. Does that make sense? Again, ask someone who knows the full options, because I've never been in this situation. You said you can't sublet, but this would be different since it is a lease transfer. good luck.
     
  17. Pox in a box

    Pox in a box 1K Member
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    This is purely speculation, but this place isn't as popular as it used to be and I'm guessing they are down on their luck regarding a flux of new tenants being interested in living here. The extra 2 months of rent from me might be better than nobody filling the void and the unit just sitting on the market.
     
  18. dpmd

    dpmd Relaxing
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    If that is true, than maybe if you do the legwork and find a tenant for them that will make them better off than just taking your money they will consider that. If you get a tenant willing to pay market value (or even the same rent you pay, if they seem like a good tenant) who wants to move in when you want to move out, perhaps you can talk to your landlord about letting them move in early. That might work better than just asking them to be nice, without giving them anything in return.
     
  19. psychgeek

    psychgeek Senior Member
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    Depending upon where you are moving, there may also be the antisocial approach. You could just leave the state without forwarding your mail. The only recourse is civil and the combination of finding you then serving you with a lawsuit across state lines would be cost-prohibitive.

    I wouldn't consider this unless your landlord is an exploitative slumlord, but if he or she is, then you could always let your inner anarchist rage.

    :horns:
     
  20. Adam_K

    Adam_K Indentured
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    If your landlord has a run a credit check on you, then adding a black mark to your credit report is child's play (through a collection agency). On top of that, they'd have no problem finding you as anytime you'd change your address with any other creditor (or apply for new credit) it would be in the report.

    http://www.experian.com/ask_max/max041807b.html

    This can have an impact on your credit report even years later. One of my in-laws discovered this the hard way and is now trying to repair their credit for a mortgage.
     

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