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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33103
Experience:  12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.
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My son currently has a 6 1 year lease apartment in Seattle.

Customer Question

My son currently has a 6 1 year lease for an apartment in Seattle. He lost his job after 5 months, has no money and no way to pay the rent. The landlord is adamant that he can not break the lease. What can he do?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 10 months ago.

Hello! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney with more than 18 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help

Also, if you would like to chat on the phone, let me know and I can make that happen.

I am truly sorry for this dilemma.

If your son has a valid lease and they break the lease, the landlord can sue to collect for the damages they suffer due to breaking the lease. So if you had a year lease and leave without paying any of the lease, the manager could sue to recover the money they have lost.

Now, there is a requirement that the landlord take steps to "mitigate damages". That means, the landlord needs to attempt to rent out the property and, if they do the income will offset what you owe. For example, if you leave at the start of the lease, but they rent for the same amount each month one month later, you would owe only 1 months rent. But if it takes 6 months to rent...you guessed it, you owe 6 months.

If you want out, the best way is to negotiate with the landlord a settlement. Perhaps your son can offer 1 or 2 months rent up front to cancel the lease...this saves them (the landlord) from having to mitigate damages and having to sue your son to collect and gets your son out knowing the cost up front. I would try and negotiate an amount you are comfortable with AND GET IT IN WRITING.

Please let me know if you have further questions; if so I will do my best to answer them. If not please hit the accept button, its the only way I get credit for my work.