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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 27685
Experience:  Attorney
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I live in Brookline, MA. I have found a new apartment and am

Customer Question

I live in Brookline, MA. I have found a new apartment and am moving 2 Months before my lease is up. Will the landlord try to make me pay the two months? He also told me there was a $500 moving out early fee. I would pay that but not the two months rent. I've given him 2 months notice for him to rent the apartment for May or June
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Your landlord can only charge you a move out fee if you're agreeing that you will pay this as damages in exchange for breaking the lease and moving out early. He can't charge you if it's a penalty for breaking your lease - that's against public policy. So, if he gives you something to sign that says you're paying $500 and he's letting you out of the lease, that's a settlement, and it's binding. He wouldn't be allowed to charge you rent for the last two months in that scenario.

When a tenant breaks a lease and move out early, they ordinarily can be charged rent until a new tenant is found or until the lease ends, whichever is first. But not if they've already signed an agreement that says otherwise. The landlord can charge you a move out fee or unpaid rent until the lease is up, but not both. The fact that you're moving out only costs him money in lost rent. So charging lost rent plus a move out fee means he's trying to profit from your breach of the lease, and that's not allowed.

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