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breaking lease Security Deposit

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Nicole 712, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. Nicole 712

    Nicole 712 Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    Georgia
    I am currently renting from a landlord and I've been getting sick as well as my kids and im currently pregnant. I noticed a musty smell and mold and mildew in my bathroom. I called and reported the problem with my landlord agency and told them that I had someone to come out and inspect and test for mold and mildew, which turned out to be tested positive.... I told my landlord and he hasnt did anything about it going on three months now. I want to break my lease and get my deposit back can I do that? Being that the mold and mildew had to be in the property before I moved in.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Read your lease.
    Breaking a lease is never easy and always cost the tenant extra money.
    In most cases, a LL will balk when a tenant wants to break a lease.
    Where mold is involved, you might have some success by contacting the county health agency.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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  4. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    Uh; bathrooms tend to be musty places with mildew, especially around the tub. Have you considered using one of the many products on the market to deal with this? Even spraying with a combination of water and hydrogen peroxide and water and bleach will help.

    Gail
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Tenants prefer to blame and complain rather than engaging in self help, especially self help that involves buying something.
     
  6. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    Quite true. Generally, the "mold ship" sailed long ago.

    Gail
     
    Michael Wechsler likes this.
  7. zudnic

    zudnic New Member

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    Getting out of a lease is very easy for the tenant. A law forcing you to pay rent and live in a place you don't want to would be unconstitutional. Your problem is you want to leave and get the deposit back. This is a little harder to do. In most places if you stop paying rent and leave, you breach the contract and the landlord can keep damage deposits. If you give proper notice and pay all rent owing, its easier to get the deposit back. Assuming no damage. Not giving proper notice is considered damages in terms of rent owing for at least the next month. In theory, in most places the landlord must keep the premises liveable. I.e.: no water, electricity, or heat, etc. The landlord must fix it in a reasonable time. In most places the landlord is on the hook for reasonable hotel costs until its fixed. If the tenant fixes these things because the landlord fails to do so. Or even in an emergency situation, landlord couldn't be reached and you make the repairs. You can ask to be reimbursed by the landlord. If the landlord fails to pay, you can take them to court or most states have some form of arbitrage system. But in almost all places you leave and stop paying rent you loose your rights and money. Even if you give notice in most cases, you might not get back your full deposit. Basically you need to pay rent. Either fix the issue and take them to court for reimbursement or move.
     
  8. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    "Getting out of a lease is very easy for the tenant. A law forcing you to pay rent and live in a place you don't want to would be unconstitutional."

    I suggest you not post anything until you know what you are talking about.

    Gail
     
    army judge likes this.
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I concur, not that you need me to be your amen corner.
    You acquit yourself admirably on landlord-tenant matters.
    Lately, however, there seems to be a great deal of misinformation being dispensed.
     
  10. zudnic

    zudnic New Member

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    OK how is it difficult? Maybe third world countries they can force you to live in a dwelling and pay rent the rest of your life. Cite a successful case anywhere in the free world someone was forced to stay in a rental contract! The difficult part here is not getting out of the place, its doing so with the damage deposit. Now if you are the landlord, its somewhat difficult to break a lease, even if it becomes month to month. Only option if you want to move, is give the states required notice to the landlord. If you move you can't claim it was the mold issue and get money for that in compensation. You couldn't move and continue to pay rent. Make a claim. Key is you still want to live in the place. Even on electricity issues, water issues, heat issues. If you move and no longer wish to live there. Landlord is under no obligation to make it liveable anymore. You want to live there, landlord agreed to provide a liveable dwelling. He's not liable to make the repairs, he can be fined for not doing them. He's only liable for the cost of the repairs. So if the landlord doesn't, you want to live there, you need to make the repairs. Then follow the tenant/landlord dispute resolution system of the state ie small claims court, county or state housing authority, etc. Move even giving proper notice, you basically agree its not liveable. Then its the same as any other end of tenancy.
     
  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You're right, in a way. It is very easy for the tenant to get out of the lease. All he has to do is pack up and leave. You're also right that we don't force people to live where they don't want to live.

    But we do punish people severely for breaching contracts. We get to keep their security deposits. We get to sue them and get judgments which trash their credit reports. We get to record those judgments so if they ever own real estate the judgment becomes a lien on it. We get to garnish their wages, levy their bank accounts, auction off their non-exempt personal property. That type of financial punishment often drives a person into bankruptcy, affects employment prospects, discourages subsequent landlords from renting to him, and results in higher insurance rates. The dire financial consequences of breaching a lease could ultimately leave a person living in a cardboard box under the bridge and begging on street corners with the rest of the homeless people.

    So, yes, getting out of the lease is easy.

    The consequences of breaching one, not so much.
     
  12. zudnic

    zudnic New Member

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    Non of that is true. All states have rules to follow for ending contracts. You can't breach a contract for not wanting to live there anymore period. Contract law is similar to federal and state law. You can't put a condition in a contract contrary to state law. If you do its not withstanding because no court will enforce it. All you need to do is follow the notification process, all states have the proper paper work free. They can keep the damage deposit if you owe rent. And also as a last months rent. Hence most rentals ask for first and last months rent up front to make that clear. Most states make lawsuits more difficult because they don't want to clog up the court system. Most set up an housing authority. Even if you just pack up and leave. They can seek some more money in lost rent expectations. Its the same as leasing a car, if you have paid all rent or all money on the lease. Once they discover you no longer want it the payments owing stop. They can only go after you for a months worth of payments or rent. In most cases they can't report it to credit because they have no proof you couldn't afford it any longer. If you owe back rent then yes they can report that. But on future rent no. Court judgements are the same deal, they are not reported to credit. The place you get in trouble is not reporting the liability to banks and other financial institutions when you apply for credit. The place they could get you. Say you left it with more damages then reasonable wear and tear. Rips in carpet. Hole in walls. Even if the roof leaks, if you didn't inform the landlord in a timely manner in writing. Well they could sue for a new roof and any damages resulting from a leaking roof. I.e. mold and water damage to the interior. But if the last months rent or damage deposit covers what's owing very little the landlord can do. In other words if they ask for either a damage deposit or last months rent. That's their future rent expectation or damage penalty for breaching the contract.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2016
  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The laws in your country, CANADA, are only REMOTELY similar to US laws.

    Please, stop dispensing INCORRECT information.

    Please stop being argumentative with other posters.

    Thank you for your prompt consideration and correction of your inappropriate behavior.
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Your location is available in ways you just don't know.



    I'm not going to debate you.
    I will ask one last time.
    Back to my original point, stop dispensing patently unreliable and incorrect legal information.

    Obey our rules, play nicely, or other methods will soon be applied for your failure to comply with our very simple rules and my civil request.
     
  15. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I appreciate your good intentions and some good information. That said, statements like "Getting out of a lease is very easy for the tenant" are likely to incite pandemonium here and for good reason. Many will tune out the rest of what you may say (which is mostly good but marred by a very poor opening.)

    Preface: It's not so easy to get out of a lease in this country. Procedure is important.

    1) You must notify the landlord about a situation that needs to be remedied and, most importantly, look at the terms in your lease for protocol. Make sure you have proof. Telephone calls can easily become a disputed matter, especially in court. The recommendation to report it to an agency and/or give written notice via a certified mail method is good. Email is the very least you should rely upon and an ensuing conversation. It also provides a paper trail for dates.

    2) As @adjusterjack refers, there are also state and others laws which may apply regarding the conditions for leaving - or which effectively evicts you from your apartment. If it's winter and the heat goes out for a day, can you terminate your lease while the landlord goes through the process of getting the heat fixed? Does it even make sense, especially when the tenant can purchase electric heaters to heat the apartment and then deduct the cost of remedying the situation to the landlord? Or can the tenant stay elsewhere for a day and deduct the costs and days of losing the apartment? I don't know that the mold in the apartment rises to the level of "constructive eviction", especially when the tenant hasn't provided notice to the landlord about obtaining self help if the landlord does not take remedial measures.

    It is true that if the tenant simply stops paying rent, the tenant can be charged with a breach of the lease. A minor breach can be cured. A major breach (called a "material breach" or sometimes a "substantial breach") means the contract may be deemed terminated. The tenant may then be evicted and charged for damages.

    Yes, there are similarities. But the reality is that many landlords that have some money and belief that a tenant has the means will pursue a tenant who breaches a lease. The attorney file the paperwork, the tenant may default, judgment filed. Regardless, it's a big pain that could and should be easily avoided.
     

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