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justiceb4all, Arbitrator
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  Attorney, Juris Doctor, Post Doctoral Degree - LLM in Federal Taxation, General Practice,
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i signed a one year lease for an apartment in New Jersey. My

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i signed a one year lease for an apartment in New Jersey. My lease states that I have to give a 60 dyas notice to vacate the apartment or the lease will be automatically renewed. I was out of town and was not able to turn in a notice until day 45. I turned in the keys to my apartment at the end of my lease. the landlord took possesion of the keys and I thought everything is ok. I received a letter one month later saying that I owe the landlord over 14,000 dollars for unpaid rent. Is this legal and what are my options?

Good morning, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be glad to assist you with your question today,


Most leases state that if the lease is not renewed at the expiration of the lease term, the tenant becomes a month to month tenant. Some leases, however, provide that they are renewed for an additional lease term which is what your lease provided. The landlord can attempt to collect from you the rent he would ordinarily receive for the renewal term, however, the law imposes on the landlord the obligation to "Mitigate his damages". In other words, the landlord cannot sit on his laurels and do nothing.


The landlord must make every attempt to lessen his damages by attempting to find a tenant for the property that you vacated. The landlord is legally obligated to do what he ordinarily does when he is looking for a tenant, i.e., list the property with a rental agent, list the property with a real estate office, place an ad in the classified section of the newspapers of general circulation in the area, post a "For Rent" sign on the property, etc. You may also do the same thing and if you find a tenant, the landlord cannot decline to rent it to the individual you found, provided the individual is credit worthy. And if he is, the landlord may not unreasonably withhold his consent.





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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am speaking to my landlord tomorrow.I wanted to know exactly what I need to tell him.


Again. I have not lived in this apartment since May 30th. I received a letter of July 1st stating that I owe the landlord for a year's worth of rent.


1. what do i say to the landlord. If I am able to talk him out of not paying for a year, what documents do I need to request from him so that I have proof of our agreement.

2. Can he legally charge me for a year of rent even though he has possession of the apartment. By the landlord taking "possession of the apartment" does that mean that he acknowledges that I am leaving and he is not entilted to the reaminder of the rent..(what happen was I turned in keys, left the apartment, thought everything was fine and a month later received a letter saying that I am responsible for rent over the next year.)

3. If is comes to Can I still live in the apartment until he finds someone to rent the apartment.

Kristin, The law imposes on all of us the obligation to read and understand any document which we sign. If we do not understand it completely, we should not sign, Your lease had a renewal clause which required you, as the tenant, to give the landlord 60 days written notice if you did not intend to renew and in the absence of such notice, the lease would automatically renew for an additional lease term. The fact that you were not in the property since May, has nothing to do with giving the required notice to the landlord.


By the same token, the law imposes on the landlord the obligation to look for a tenant and mitigate his damages. Landlords usually find tenants fairly quickly so that they do not go after the former tenant for the rent for the entire new lease term.


1. You are asking what you should tell your landlord. I would tell him that I will make every attempt to find a tenant, but I would also remind him that he has a legal obligation to mitigate his damages so he, too, must look for a tenant.


2. You gave the keys and possession back to the landlord. He had to take them because you said you were vacating the property. That did not mean that he waived his rights under the lease. I have never heard of a landlord that was unable to find a tenant and charged a former tenant an entire term's rent.


3. Yes, you can remain in the property until you or the landlord find a tenant to take your place in the property. And, if you can arrange it, that would probably be the best solution for you because if you will be obligated to pay rent until another tenant is found, then you at least will have possession of the property,


I realize that this is not exactly the Answer you were hoping for and it would have given me great pleasure to give you the Answer you wanted to hear, but I have an ethical obligation to you to give you only correct Answers and information, so I am respectfully asking that you not hold the law applicable to your situation against me,




Please be kind enough to give me a positive rating so that I receive credit for assisting you,




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