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Esquire38, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 133
Experience:  I have extensive experience in private practice with corporate and general business law.
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I gave my landlord notice to move but had to break my lease

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I gave my landlord notice to move but had to break my lease due to large cut in income. While I am being charged for days the home was vacant am I also liable for the fuel my landlord uses to show the home for re-renting? Also , we lived there less than 8 months and while we know that the kitchen lights were working when we left can the landlord charge us to replace them. She said 4 bulbs in the kitchen which I believe would leave the kitchen in complete darkness.
It sounds like you are in a very difficult situation. Fortunately you have a number of rights, and the legal process will help you assert those rights.

In general, when you sign a lease you are obligating your self to pay for the monthly rent, regardless of whatever circumstances may make it hard for you to meet those obligations. Your large pay cut, while extremely unfortunate, is not enough to relieve you of those obligations. Barring any unique lease provisions, you are likely responsible for all unpaid rent through the end of the lease (minus whatever amount the landlord is able to get through reletting the place). Part of those obligations include utility payments, assuming you were supposed to be paying for utilities under the lease, as well as any costs the landlord incurs in trying to relet the place.

That being said, it does not sound like the landlord is looking for unpaid rent. The extra costs for utilities could reasonably be argued to be costs associated with reletting the property, and so you might have some trouble arguing against that. The other costs, however, sound like they are highly inflated.

The landlord will not be able to take any money from you, other than what you have already paid him (i.e., the security deposit), without taking you to court. Assuming he goes that far, you will have the opportunity to fully present your side of the case to the judge. Your video is absolutely going to be admissible, as will a quote from someone that does floor repairs. The judge will make the ultimate call, but if the costs are as inflated as you say they are, it's likely going to be apparent to the judge that they are overreaching, and you will only be held liable for the costs that you are actually responsible for.

Of course, all of this is contingent on the actual terms of the lease. Assuming a standard lease, however, you should be in a very good position to prove your position and to make sure that you get treated fairly. You have a lot working for you, including the fact that the burden is going to be on your landlord to actually bring the case to court. Do not underestimate how difficult this can be, and take solace in the fact that it is going to cost him a lot in time and money to bring it that far.

I wish you all the best going forward. If you ever have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to let me know. You have a lot of rights as a tenant, and judges are generally willing to look right through the games that landlords try to play in circumstances like this.

Good luck.
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