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Broke lease early due to relocating

Discussion in 'Moving In & Out, Movers' started by verryberry, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. verryberry

    verryberry Law Topic Starter New Member

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    New York

    I recently moved out of an apartment that I lived for 2 years due to relocating to Westcoast for a job from Brooklyn, NY. I told my landlord about the situation and she said I can move out by end of the month but I have to find a new tenant to either take over my lease or to sign new 1-year. Even tho I gave my landlord 30-day notice, I had to move out a week before the last day of the month because of starting date of new job but I tried everything I could for last month at the apartment but didn't have any luck and now I'm out of state. I don't expect to have my deposit returned but I also don't want to pay rent for the apartment I moved out until the lease ends at the end of September.

    My landlord says she hasn't called her broker yet because I told her I will do it myself, which I didn't know it was even an option because she told me I have to find one because I'm breaking the lease, and if she does call her broker, I'll need to pay the fee. Is this true?

    I gave her 30-day notice and did everything I can to find a new tenant. I want to know my rights and if I need to continue searching for a new tenant for my landlord and if I need to pay rents till my lease is up..

    I'm so stressed out about this and its really refraining from me to get settled into the new environment.

    I'd really appreciate your advice.

    Thank you
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    NY law works against you. In 2008 the appellate ruled that a residential landlord has no duty to mitigate.

    Rios v. Carrillo, 53 AD 3d 111 - NY: Appellate Div., 2nd Dept. 2008 - Google Scholar

    In other words she can let the unit stay empty until the expiration in September and sue you for the entire amount of the rent.

    Understand, that, when all is said and done, you breached the contract, you are the bad guy. You suffer whatever financial consequences come your way as a result of that breach, up to and including paying the entire rent until the expiration of your lease.

    However, there is a big difference between law and practicality.

    You breached the lease, the damage has been done. You have absolutely NO obligation to do or pay anything UNLESS (read this carefully) a court of law says so.

    While the landlord could leave the unit empty until the end of September I can tell you, as a former landlord, that she would be incredibly foolish to do so while relying on the expense and inconvenience of suing on the west coast while no money is coming in.

    If she CHOOSES to mitigate and does get another tenant there is another doctrine in contract law that says she can't profit from your breach, meaning she can't collect rent from a new tenant and collect from you at the same time. At worst you'd be liable from the day you leave to the day it's re-rented and maybe get a bad mark on your credit report.

    Also understand that if you keep paying you aren't really in breach and she has no incentive to get another tenant.

    Given that people in NYC are on waiting lists for rentals (my sister live there) getting another tenant shouldn't take too long.

    I can't tell you what to do, I can only give you information on which to base a strategy.

    One thing I would caution you about is stop "talking." Talking only gets you more trouble.
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Sigh.... How much was your deposit? How much was the monthly rent? When did you move out? When you moved out, did you surrender all keys to the premises? Through what date did you pay rent?

    If the landlord incurs costs in an effort to mitigate the damages resulting from your breach of the lease, then those costs certainly could be included in any judgment the landlord might obtain against you.

    Like everyone, you have lots of legal rights, and compiling a list of rights would serve no useful purpose. Discussing your "rights" would also not be particularly productive; rather, a discussion of your obligations would be more productive.

    By signing the lease, you obligated yourself in writing to pay rent through the end of the lease term, which is apparently 9/30/18. That obligation doesn't change simply because you moved out (and I strongly disagree with the statement in the prior response that the obligation only exists if a judge says it exists -- the obligation exists because you agreed to it by signing the lease). If the case law cited by "adjusterjack" is correct, then the obligation to find a new tenant acceptable to your landlord is solely yours. If your landlord chooses and is able to mitigate damages by finding a new tenant before 9/30/18, then your damages may be lessened.

    While I can understand that this is stressing you out, the reality is that you made a huge mistake by bailing on the apartment as you did. If you don't take care of your obligation to your former landlord, you likely will get sued and get a judgment entered against you. On the other hand, if you're now on the west coast, it will be at least inconvenient for the landlord to try and enforce a judgment against you.

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