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LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Experience:  Landlord-Tenant Disputes, Leases, Evictions, Foreclosures.
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Looking for an apartment rental lease to be evaluated to see

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Looking for an apartment rental lease to be evaluated to see options on breaking lease. I am renting an apartment in a private house in Queens NY and signed a lease for (3) years beginning Oct 1, 2012. I would like to get out of the lease early but wanted
some advice before asking landlord. Dont know if you will be able to give this type of advice without seeing the lease but perhaps you can point me in the right direction.
Good evening. Do you have any legal basis for terminating the lease early? If so, have you read the lease to see if there is an early termination clause contained within?
Hi. I just wanted to follow up and see if you had a chance to respond. Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The following is language on lease;Abandonment: If at any time during the term of this Agreement Tenant abandons the Premises or any part thereof, Lanlord may, at Landlord's option, obtain possession of the premises in the manner provided by law, and without becoming liable to Tenant for damages or for any payment of any kind whatever, landlord may, at landlord's discretion, as agent for the Tenant, relet the premsies, or any part thereof, for the whole or any part of the unexpired term, and may recieve and collect all rent payable by virtue of such reletting, and, at landlords option, hold tenant liable for any difference between the rent that would have been payable under this agreement during the balance of the unexpired term, if this agreement had continued in force, and the net rent for such period realized by landlord by means of such reletting. If landlord;s right of reentry is exercised following abandonment of the premises by tenant, then landlord shall consider any personal property belonging to tenant and left on the premises to also have been abandoned, in which case landlord my dispose of all such personal property in any manner landlord shall deem proper and landlord is hereby relieved of all liability for doing so.That being said, we agreed to pay $2250.00 per month to include all utilities, upon moving in landlord asked me to pay the electric bill and told me that if I pay the bill he would decrease my rent by 100.00 per month because the meter covers my apartment and the basement apartment lease to another tennant. After initially agreeing to put electric bill in my name I began to receive excessive electric bills to which landlord would deduct my rent for the excess portion of electric bill each month. After a few months of these electric bill issues, I asked that the electric bill be taken off my name and placed back in his name and I would pay the agreed upon rent of 2250.00 and not have to worry about the electric bill. Landlord agree, and put the utility back in his name. after about a month he then asked me to pay an additional fee to cover the electric bill due to the fact that the bill was coming in higher than anticipated. At this point I became concerned over our agreement and the overall situation with regards ***** *****
Thank you for the additional information. If the agreed upon rent included electricity, then the fact that the monthly bill for the electric was higher then anticipated by the landlord, would be a problem he needs to deal with and not your concern. The reason I say that is because the terms and condition of the lease are going to control and if the $2250 included everything, the landlord could not modify or alter the lease agreement without your consent. As far as breaking the lease early, you would want to see if there is an early termination clause stated within. What you provided above is in regard if you were to just pack up and leave, without returning nor paying the rent. In a situation like this, you can first try and work out an agreement with the landlord, to break the lease early and pay a penalty. In the alternative, you could also try and find a new tenant to sublease the property, for the remainder of the term. This way, you could avoid having to come out of pocket for any costs/expenses. If you can not find anyone nor will the landlord allow you to pay a penalty to walk away and you decide to leave, then the landlord mist make a good faith effort to try and lease the property and then could come after you, for any money owed. That is a last resort. In order to terminate the lease on your own, you would have to hold the landlord in breach of it and he would have to be unwilling to correct the matter. If you were to pay the $2250 as agreed, the landlord would have to accept it. He could not try and change his position based upon his miscalculation on how much the electric bill would cost. If the situation was reversed and less electricity was being used, I doubt he would offer to return money to you at the end of the month, which he factored in, in the cost.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the advice given I should add that the agreement to pay rent of 2250.00 is to include all utilities was the offer given to me and my wife in the presence of a broker. In my haste to move in we signed the lease agreement at the brokers office and noticed that the all utilities included language was not included. After the fact the only mention of utilities on lease is the printed language; Tenant shall be responsible for arranging for and paying for all utility services required on the premises.The only thing I have to support this agreement is the fact that all other utilities have been in his name since day one, and the fact that there is an email chain between the landlord and I discussing the electric bill only. he alludes to in his last email to me that it is true that all utilities are covered under the monthly rent with the exception of the electric bill. He was asking that I pay an additional 100.00 per month to cover the higher than anticipated bill and when I refused he asked me to meet him somewhere in the middle. When I stuck to my decision not to pay extra he answered in his last email that he blames the broker for poor communication in who is responsible for the electric bill and states that he will keep things as is.Do you think I will most likely have to accept things as is due to the lease not supporting our verbal agreement? If so I guess I can ask him for an early release and forfeit by security deposit.
What is contained in the lease agreement is going to control. Anything oral, should have been reduced to writing, to evidence the agreement. If nothing was stated about the electric being included, then the landlord could always argue it was not and you need to pay. Of course, if you have an email chain of him addressing this issue, it could always go to support your position if needed, assuming he were to take legal action, when he says things will stay the same, referencing everything being included in the rent.
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