Large NJ summer beach house rental for Mom and family. Broker knew the purpose. Lease document prospective tenant signed says "Rental subject to confirmation by Owner signing and returning copy of lease." Did not receive copy signed by Owner. Paid large deposit. Before next scheduled payment, Mom dieddefeating purpose of lease. Notified broker that we wish to cancel. Document says that cancellation is to be in writing and that "The lease shall be terminated only after another Tenant is secured but the Commission % of rental was left blank. Broker claims lease is still in effect and all scheduled rent must be paid 1.Is this a valid lease?2.If so, does Mom's death support cancellation?3. Must the owner/broker actively try to get another tenant to rent the house. If they must actively reoffer and don't, what is the effect. Thank you.
State/Country relating to question: New Jersey
Hello and welcome,I am very sorry to hear of your loss. My condolences to you and your family.Please clarify the contract language with regard to termination. That is not clear to me. Thank you.
The lease copy states:
I see.The lease would be binding, but since a commission is not indicated in the agreement, a court would have no basis to impose that penalty typically unless there is evidence presented by the parties to indicate what they agreed on with regard to the percentage.New Jersey courts do typically impose a duty on the owner/agent to mitigate damages once they receive notice of an intent to terminate. Therefore, they must take reasonable steps to locate a new renter for the period you would have rented it and your obligation to pay rent would normally be offset by the amount of rent they do receive. You could remain liable for the lost rents remaining, provided they do attempt to mitigate their damages, along with their costs of advertising and administrative expenses in locating a new tenant. If they do not attempt to mitigate their damages, a court would normally reduce your liability by the amount they should have received if they had properly mitigated their losses.The death of your loved one would not relieve you of your obligations under the agreement unless there was language to support that assertion typically, but the failure to provide you with a copy of the lease signed by the owner could provide a basis to challenge the validity of the agreement.Because of the significant expense involved, it would be best to retain a local real estate attorney to negotiate a reasonable settlement for you. It is likely you should actually receive a refund of much of the deposit you paid if they have time to mitigate their damages.
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Sent Text message previously. For negotiations,need to know whether Owner could recover attorney fees if successful in NJ court. Could Owner sue in NJ out of state Tenant or would Owner have to sue in Tenant's home state? Lease has no language about these issues. Will pay you extra? Thank you.
Hello again. I would be happy to assist you further.The default rule is that each party would be liable for their own fees and costs unless the agreement states otherwise, so those would not normally be recoverable.Jurisdiction would typically be proper where the property is located or the defendant is located, so it can depend on who files suit first. If the owner/agent files suit, they should typically file where you reside. If you file suit, you should normally file where the property is located or the owner/agent is located.
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