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The provision about forfeiting the rental deposit, sounds like it should apply to the tenant, not the landlord. You should double check that provision just to be sure. Regardless, it would have no bearing on the remedies of the landlord for your early termination of the lease. If the lease specifically addresses penalties for early termination, those provisions would govern. If not, you would be responsible for all of the unpaid rent left in the lease for all 9 months, if the landlord is unable to rent the premises to someone else for the same or more money, during the 9 months left that you had on the lease. It will be the landlord's obligation to try, in good faith, to re-rent the premises. If he does not use reasonable efforts to re-rent, you will not be liable for the unpaid rent. If you are sued by the landlord, right away, before he has time to re -rent the premises, the court may hold you liable for the entire remaining amount.
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Certainly. The purpose of the law of contracts is to see that each party is able to receive what they have contracted for. Esssentially, that each receives the benefit of the bargain. To the extent one party makes a unilateral decision that causes the other to lose money, the courts try to see that the person receives what he expected under the contract. In your case, if you terminate prematurely, and the owner is unable to find another tenant, the place sits vacant and he loses the money that he would have collected had you fullfilled your end of the bargain and remained for the full term. This is the primary purpose behind a lease, rather than a month to month rental. If you are concerned about this potential liability, you should try to get the landlord to sign a recission to the agreement. A recission agreemeent is a written agreement by both parties to terminate the lease with no penalties. If you give the landlord sufficient notice that you would like to move and don't obstruct his ability to rent to a subsequent tenant, he may be willing to recind the lease agreement and let you out without penalty.