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AttyHeather
AttyHeather, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 546
Experience:  Attorney with 15 years experience
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I have been in a 2 year lease agreement with a landlord. I

Customer Question

I have been in a 2 year lease agreement with a landlord. I was presented with the opportunity to buy a house, so jumped on it. Consequently, I asked for an early termination of my 2 yr agreement which would have ended Dec 31st, 2016. The landlord and RE agent had me sign a release saying I would forfeit the deposit (1650 + 500 pet) AND pay 6 months commission (RE agent's) that the landlord says he would be out. This amount would be $990. Long story short, they found a tenant to pick up the lease where I left off. So, have new deposit in place, new payments for RE agent commissions, plus a rent of $100 more per month than my lease. I left the place in the same condition I found it plus improvements. Found out the leasing commission was only based on the first year of the agreement. So what is the $990 for? Do they have a right to still keep my deposits? BTW, I live in California. I think that the release document was invalid in the first place because there commissions paid to RE agent is based on first year alone. I think they are greedy and just trying to pull the wool over me.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  AttyHeather replied 5 months ago.

Hi, I'm Heather, an attorney for 15 years and I'd like to assist you for informational purposes.

If you had simply moved out and broken the lease, the landlord would have obviously had damages but he would have also had an obligation to mitigate his damages - meaning use reasonable efforts to find a new tenant. After he found the new tenant, you would have been responsible for his lost rent during the time the apartment was vacant, lost commissions during the time the apartment was vacant, and if he rented the apartment for less, you would be responsible for the difference between your contract rent and what he actually rented the apartment for. You would have also been responsible for damages to the apartment, if any.

That was not the situation here. Instead, when you moved, you signed a new agreement with the landlord. This new agreement made you responsible to pay certain items and, in return, your landlord agreed not to sue you for certain items. You had to pay the $1650, $500, and $990, but in return, your landlord promised not to sue you for other things he could have potentially been entitled to if he wasn't able to rent the apartment out to someone new - like lost rent for 6 months, or if he rented it to someone else but could only get a lower rent, he would not be able to sue you for the difference.

So, long story short, you made an agreement when you moved out, and that is what the court will be enforcing. I hope that this information has been useful. Please let me know if I answered your question

Expert:  AttyHeather replied 5 months ago.

Hi, I'm checking in to see if I have answered your question. I'm showing that you read the answer I provided but that you have not given me a rating or commented since reading the information I provided to you. Please let me know if I was able to answer your question. Thank you.