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Loren, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33098
Experience:  Attorney with 30 years of experience representing landlords and tenants.
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My son moved to a rental in Erie, PA because he was offered

Customer Question

My son moved to a rental in Erie, PA because he was offered a new job. After only 3 weeks the new job was cancelled and he is out of work. There's no IT work in Erie and he needs to get out of his lease and get back to the Wash., DC area. The landlord told him he could not get out of the lease for ANY reason and that he woiuld be obligated for the entire year. Is this true? If he has no job and no money, how is this possible?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Pennsylvania - it is called Hammocks @ Mill Creek
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: It is a one-year lease and he's only been there one month. Other than that, there are no other issues or terms that I know of.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: It is absolutely certain that my son has to leave and come back to the Northern Virginia area. Can a lawyer help him make an arrangement that would allow him to break the lease? Maybe pay for 2 months or until the complex gets a new tenant for his unit? He absolutely has to get out of Erie, Pa to find his kind of work.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

Good afternoon. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.

Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

Unfortunately, your son's lease is binding and enforceable for the lease term stated in the contract. Therefore, without a provision in the lease providing a right to early termination or landlord breach (constituting constructive eviction), he is liable for the payment of rent and other obligations specified in the agreement until the end of the lease term.

So, he has a few options. First, he can try to find a new tenant to either be a subtenant or assignee of his lease.

Next he can try to negotiate a lump-sum settlement of the remaining balance on the lease.

Finally, and most risky, he can just move out without a new tenant or settlement, and hope the landlord can relet the space quickly.

The last option puts him in breach of the lease and subject to damages if the landlord sues and prevails.

With regard to the first two options, if you find a new tenant or reach a settlement with the landlord, it is most important that the terms be in writing and signed by the parties so that it is enforceable in court.

Also, be aware that the landlord does have a legal duty to mitigate damages if your son moves out.

Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.

Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question?

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