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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33730
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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Breaking a lease before I moved in because of a death in the

Customer Question

breaking a lease before I moved in because of a death in the family and I need to move states
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 8 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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I have read your comments, but don't see what your legal question is?

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If you can post your legal question, I will do my best to help..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I signed a one year lease for a new apartment right after my dad passed away. Now I need to move back to Chicago. When I signed the lease I did not know that I was going to need to move back home. I only had the keys a few days and never moved my stuff in. I just want to break the lease and be done with this place so I can go home. They are holding my security deposit. First months rent and the money I paid for the keys. I have my dads death certificate and any paperwork I might need. What can I do?
Expert:  Barrister replied 8 months ago.

I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your father... please accept my condolences.

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Unfortunately, there is not any type of "hardship" escape clause in a lease unless it was specifically stated in the lease. If you are under a written lease for a set term, then if you break the lease, the landlord can potentially hold you liable for up to the entire remaining term of the lease. If your situation has changed, it would not give you legal grounds to get out of the lease without any repercussions.

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However, if you have to break your lease, the landlord has a duty to mitigate his damages by attempting to re-rent the unit as soon as possible. Once he does so, he can only hold you liable for his actual damages in the form of any lost rent and advertising costs. So if it takes him 1 or 2 months to rent it again, he can only hold you liable for that lost rent plus any advertising costs. The law seeks to put the non-breaching party in the same position they would have been in but for the breach.

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So to minimize your potential liability, if you have to breach, make sure you notify the landlord in writing sent certified mail that you are breaking the lease so the landlord can immediately put it on the market and hopefully rent it quickly.

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If they are able to rent it before any prepaid rent or deposit are exhausted, they would have to refund any prorated amounts to you.

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister

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