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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
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I moved and left my lease early in Idaho. Gave notice, etc.

Customer Question

I moved and left my lease early in Idaho. Gave notice, etc. House was re-rented a month later. There was a lease break fee in the agreement. I didn't understand as the landlord did. They are keeping my entire security deposit as a lease break fee and want me to pay for the month and additional cleaning. I'm happy to pay what is fair, but my understanding of lease break fees is that they are in lieu of paying for the lost rent, that it is either/ or, and not that the fee is just a penalty. I hadn't lived in Idaho long, so my assumption was based on other state laws, but it still seems like they shouldn't be able to collect both.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 8 months ago.

Dear Customer,

You are correct. The landlord is entitled to rent for the remainder of the lease OR until a new tenant is found (whichever occurs first).

The landlord does not get to hold the security deposit as additional damages or "liquidated damages".

I suspect that your landlord is simply trying to take advantage of you moving away and hopes that you will not file suit against him for unlawful withholding. (Unfortunately this happens all too often). But you are correct.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
even if the lease says that there is a rental termination fee for ending the lease early and responsibility for rent until a new tenant is found, they can't do both? Is there Idaho law I could quote on that?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 8 months ago.

This link here: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/tenants-right-break-rental-lease-idaho.html provides you with a good discussion, as well as one Idaho case (Indus. Leasing Corp. v. Thomason, 532 P.2d 916 (1974)) you can use to support your position.

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