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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 36102
Experience:  I have handled Real Estate and Landlord Tenant matters for more than two decades.
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In NJ Scenario A: The tenant moved out in the middle of

Customer Question

In NJ Scenario A: The tenant moved out in the middle of their lease, but have paid this month. Can I rent an apartment in the middle of the month and charge the new tenant for the reminder of the month? Can I let them be in the apartment for free for the
rest of the month? Scenario B: The tenant moved out a couple of days after the 1 year rental lease started. In the middle of his move in, he repacked and emptied the apartment. Have not returned the keys, have not given me any written notice, except the text
that he wants his 1st month, last month and security deposit back. His lease is a 1 year lease, and he needs to give a 60 day notice, if he doesn’t want to renew the lease. What am I allowed to keep or spend from his payment if I rent the place next month,
or right now? I know that if I don’t rent the apartment, he owes me the whole 1 year. What do I need to do to make sure he cannot take me to court on this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

In 1977 the NJ Appellate court ruled: “… that a landlord does have an obligation to make a reasonable effort to mitigate damages in such a situation.” Sommer v. Kridel, 378 A.2d 767 (N.J.1977).

What this means is that you must attempt to re-rent the unit and if you do the obligation of the tenant to pay rent ends and you need to reimburse them the remainder of advanced rent or security deposit.

So you simply need to try to rent the place out. You will be able to charge the tenant for advertising expenses and rent until you have a paying tenant in the unit.

Scenario A: The tenant moved out in the middle of their lease, but have paid this month. Can I rent an apartment in the middle of the month and charge the new tenant for the reminder of the month? Can I let them be in the apartment for free for the rest of the month? If you rent mid-month, you must return the remainder to the tenant who broke the lease.

Scenario B: The tenant moved out a couple of days after the 1 year rental lease started. In the middle of his move in, he repacked and emptied the apartment. Have not returned the keys, have not given me any written notice, except the text that he wants his 1st month, last month and security deposit back. His lease is a 1 year lease, and he needs to give a 60 day notice, if he doesn’t want to renew the lease. Again, you have an obligation to try to rent it and if you can and there is money left over, you must return it to the tenant. The law does not allow you to keep any kind of a penalty for then tenant having broken the lease.

Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you. Thank you in advance.

I wish you and yours the best in 2015,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Could you answer scenario B? Thank you
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

Sorry for any confusing, but I believe that I did answer it.

You must try to re-rent the place and you may keep any rent during the time that it is awaiting re-rental plus an advertising costs. The fact that there is a 60 day notice of termination and a one year lease is not the issue.

The only issue is that you must seek to re-rent it and when you have, his obligation to you ends.

If you re-rent now, then from now on he owes no rent and you must return the remainder. But if it takes you 2 months to get a new tenant in, you can keep 2 month's rent from the deposit.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Kindly, remember to rate my service to you. That is how I am credited for assisting you.

I wish you and yours the best in 2015,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Based on your response, why even bother signing a year lease.Scenario B is more complicated than scenario A.In Scenario B, the tenant has not returned the keys, and has not given me any written notice that he has left. How can I be 100% sure, that he has left/ how can I prove to court that he has fully left the rental?As he has not returned the keys, I should change the lock to the apartment and common areas that means giving a new key to all the other tenants in the building. This itself will cost a couple of $100s.I have too much on my plate now, so I am going to hire one to find a tenant for me. Can I deduct this cost from the tenant’s security deposit? Can I hire anyone to find a tenant as far as I make the final decision on the rent amount.The low rental season has started, so I will not be able to rent the apartment the same amount. The only way I can rent the apartment the same price as before is to give the reminder of this month and next month free and charge the new coming tenant the reminder of the months. After that if there is any money left form the former tenant’s down payment, I return it to the former tenant. Am I allowed to do that in this scenario?What do I need to do to make sure that I will not have any problem and to stop the tenant from suing me?
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

As you may not be aware, the Rules of JustAnswer specify that each customer ask one question in each question thread. These are new questions that you are asking. For new questions, the customer is asked to open a new question thread, or to accept an offer of additional services. I do sincerely ***** ***** any inconvenience this might cause you. I will process an offer to you for additional question and answer time.

You may ask for me personally by referring to me by name (Doug) in your new question and I will be able to assist you. As the questions that you are posting are new, I am required to ask you to please open up a new question thread for them. Thank you for your understanding.

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was just explaining that you have not fully answered scenario B where I asked:" What am I allowed to keep or spend from his payment if I rent the place next month, or right now? I know that if I don’t rent the apartment, he owes me the whole 1 year. What do I need to do to make sure he cannot take me to court on this?"Only a small portion of that has been answered.
I appreciate your help
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You wrote:"For new questions, the customer is asked to open a new question thread"
I have done that before and i got punished by justanswer. You are an attorney, so I am sure you can do a better job resolving this with justanswer than I can
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

You asked: " What am I allowed to keep or spend from his payment if I rent the place next month, or right now?

With all respect intended I answered this already. I wrote: you have an obligation to try to rent it and if you can and there is money left over, you must return it to the tenant. The law does not allow you to keep any kind of a penalty for then tenant having broken the lease.

You only get to keep enough to cover your actual losses of rent and advertising---nothing more. The obligation of further rent for the tenant ends as soon as you get the place re-rented. After re-renting, all unspent monies from the deposits must then be returned to the tenant who broke the lease.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In the 1 year lease between tenant and I states: "The Tenant shall pay all expenses incurred by the Landlord in preparing the Apartment for re-renting including, but not limited to: ***** ***** advertising, replacing locks, and commissions paid to a Broker for finding a new tenant. If the Landlord re-rents the Apartment for less than the Tenant’s rent, the Tenant must pay the difference until the end of the lease term. "
So are you saying in NJ I can't get reimbursed for these (above lease paragraph) stated in the lease? please explain.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

"The Tenant shall pay all expenses incurred by the Landlord in preparing the Apartment for re-renting including, but not limited to: ***** ***** advertising, replacing locks, and commissions paid to a Broker for finding a new tenant. If the Landlord re-rents the Apartment for less than the Tenant’s rent, the Tenant must pay the difference until the end of the lease term.

Yes, all these lease terms may be enforced.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
Can those terms (cleaning, painting, etc) be enforced because they were stated in the lease, OR I could have asked for them if they were not in the lease?In response to Scenario "A" you wrote:"If you rent mid-month, you must return the remainder to the tenant who broke the lease."
Although I re-rent it in mid month, but I am not charging to the new tenant from the reminder of the month and the following month. That's the only way I can get a tenant to move in, at this low season.
Are you saying that I should still pay back the former tenant this 1.5 month, although I am not getting paid by the new tenant for this period?
Thank you
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

I am unable to further assist you in this matter, and I am going to opt out of your question and open this up for other professionals.

Your question is being placed back in the question list for other professionals to see, and to respond to. You do not have to stay online for the question to be active. Should another professional pick it up, you should be alerted by email unless you actively disable this feature.

There is no need for you to reply at this time as this may "lock" your question back to me, thus inadvertently delaying other professionals' access to it.

I apologize for any inconvenience and wish you well in your future.

Doug

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