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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34735
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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We live in Missouri. My son signed a lease to rent a place

Customer Question

We live in Missouri. My son signed a lease to rent a place down at college. two of his friends signed onto the same lease and they expecting a fourth individual that backed out after the other three signed. They can not afford the place without the fourth. They were suppose to move in July 1. What options do they have, can they cancel the lease since they have not moved in yet. As far as money down there was $360 cleaning fee prepaid and the last month rent of $1080 (3/4ths of each of those amounts were paid as they signed -the last 1/4 wasnt paid because the last person didnt sign).
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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Unfortunately, their situation with the other tenant wouldn't give them legal grounds to back out and the lease is binding as soon as it is signed. If someone is under a written lease fora set term, then if they break the lease, the landlord can potentially hold them liable for up to the entire remaining term of the lease. If their situation has changed, it would not give them legal grounds to get out of the lease without any repercussions.

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However, if they have to break the 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 them 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 them liable for that lost rent plus any advertising costs.

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So to minimize their potential liability, if they have to breach, they need to send the landlord notice in writing sent certified mail that they are breaching the lease and they are aware of his duty to mitigate his damages by re-renting as soon as possible. Since they haven't taken possession, the landlord can immediately put it on the market and hopefully rent it quickly.

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

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