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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 110516
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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Our landlord is divorced and has not paid child support. He

Customer Question

Our landlord is divorced and has not paid child support. He ex wife sent us a court order to now pay the rent to her. Landlord now wants to move back in and break our lease early. He has offered to use our security deposit to pay the next 2 months rent and we would then move out. We are stuck in the middle of this legal fight. What is our legal resposibility?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Legally, your responsibility is to follow the court order unless your landlord goes to court and gets the order vacated. The lease you have is binding on you and the landlord. The landlord cannot just terminate the lease and him asking you to move out early to suit his needs would mean he should be returning your security deposit to you and allowing you to move now without owing any further rent. However, his offer to keep your security deposit and let you move is for his advantage not your advantage and you have a right to enforce the lease as you signed it and have to obey the court order to send the rent to his ex spouse (which you should keep detailed proof of payment on).
If you want out and do not want to be stuck in the middle, then tell the landlord since this is a breach of your lease caused by his fault, you would expect to be released from the lease completely and have your security deposit retained and given a prorated rent for the number of days you stay before you can move out and be paid for the cost of this unplanned move because of his conduct, otherwise you will enforce the lease and abide by the court order..
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It is my understanding that the landlord is in serious financial distress and I am sure that he has spent our security deposit. Our only hope was to take advantage of his offer to live there the next 2 months rent free. Am i correct that you are saying that we cannot do that as we must follow the court order. The fact that we will never get our security deposit back has no bearing?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If he spent the deposit he would be liable to you, as that is also a violation of the landlord tenant law to not keep the deposit separate.
You can agree with him, IN WRITING, if he is the only landlord to terminate the lease if you want and to stay for the security deposit for 2 months. The ex can then sue him and drag you in the middle to court since security deposit is to be used for damage and not rent. So she could bring you to court for breach of lease and he would end up liable in this big legal mess. It is likely best, ***** ***** want to avoid court to pay the rent as ordered and then sue the landlord for return of the deposit at the end of the lease.

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