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What constitutes breaking a lease?

Discussion in 'Moving In & Out, Movers' started by 202GC, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. 202GC

    202GC Law Topic Starter New Member

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    North Carolina
    In January of this year I signed a lease to run through June 20th. I needed a short term lease because I was looking to purchase a house. In April I was finally able to close on a property. I took my time and was finally all moved out by mid-May. Once my furniture was gone I noticed some places that were going to need some minor repair so I asked the landlords agent to come take a look. I wanted to know how he wanted it repaired so I could begin to shop for a repairman. He agreed and my husband met him at the rental property. My husband is often not available so he went ahead and gave the landlord's agent his copy of the key and garage door opener. I did not turn in mine. It was agreed that the landlord's agent could begin showing the property, we weren't living there so we saw no problem with it. In fact, when we signed the lease in the beginning the landlord's agent was keen to have us out on time so they could take advantage of the prime leasing season. We also stated that we had no problem with them breaking the lease early if they found someone.
    Well, without saying anything to us they did find a new tenant who moved in at the beginning of June. I did receive an email from the landlord's agent stating that he wanted the keys returned as soon as possible but there was no mention of the fact that he found a new tenant. On June 2nd I paid the prorated June rent, the landlord's agent provided the amount, in full. The weekend before our lease was to be up my husband went to the property to make sure everything was as it should be and to check the mailbox for any of our mail. Imagine his surprise when he opened the garage door and discovered a car parked there. He immediately closed the garage door and went and knocked on the door. The new tenant said they had been living there for 10 days.
    I have now received my security deposit from the landlord's agent but I have been refused the rent I paid for June between the 4th, when the new tenant moved in, and the 20th, when my lease was up. He sighted that I had broken my lease and he incurred costs finding a new tenant. He also sighted that my husband harassed the new tenant by opening the garage. Had we known about the new tenant we would have returned the key, mail key and garage door opener when asked but as far as we were concerned we were still under contract until the 20th. We didn't cancel any of the utilities, we were going to do that as of the 20th. It was not until we received the security deposit that we found out the date. Now we have to make sure we have not been paying any utilities for the new tenant.
    Now that I've outlined the circumstances my questions are these. In terms of the law did I break my lease? If I were to take this to small claims court what are my chances of winning this case? All I am asking for is my rent payment returned for the 4th through the 20th.
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Anyone that handicaps an outcome of any court case is simply guessing.

    You have two choices, let it go, and move on with yoru life in your new home.

    Or, you can go to small claims and explain there what you explained here.

    I don't know if you'll prevail, but you appear to have the contract law on your side, IF things are as you recited.

    WARNING: You won't get cash or a certified check, if you do prevail.

    You'll simply receive a pretty (maybe) piece of legal paper with the court's seal affixed.
    The paper will say that Joe Joker owes Rose Petal $500 (or some other amount).
    You will then be required to perfect the judgment, and then attempt to enforce (as in collect) the amount of the judgment.

    That is the hardest part of the entire ordeal.

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