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I need advice on breaking a lease in Dallas TX, Texas, Like

Customer Question
I need advice on breaking...
I need advice on breaking a lease in Dallas TX
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Texas
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Like what?
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I am trying to break my lease to relocate out of state. The Landlord is trying to get me to pay a re-listing fee, as well as the entirety of the lease amount.
Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
7/25/2017
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 3 months ago
barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 38,689
Experience: Attorney over 17 years, landlord 26 years
Verified

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.

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Do you just need to break the lease or is there something wrong with the property that would justify you terminating it?

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Are you under a fixed term lease for a set period?

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thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
There are issues that I have had that the landlord has refused to fix, but I need to break the lease in order to move out of state.I signed a year lease in April 2017, and I will be moving at the end of September 2017
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Unfortunately, there is not any type of "hardship" escape clause in a lease unless it was specifically stated in the lease. If you are under a written lease for a set term, then if you break the lease, the landlord can potentially hold you liable for up to the entire remaining term of the lease. If your financial situation has changed, it would not give you legal grounds to get out of the lease without any repercussions.

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However, if you have to break your 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 you 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 you liable for that lost rent plus any advertising costs. He can't ding you with a penalty or "reletting fee" only the actual lost rent and any advertising costs..

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So to minimize your potential liability, if you have to breach, make sure you leave the place as close to spotless as you can so 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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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Hi,I am not trying to get out of the lease due to financial hardship, I am leaving the state. I am not trying to get out of the lease without repercussions, I merely want to know what consequences are fair, and legal.Are you saying to me that, in the state of Texas, the city of Dallas, that a re-letting fee is illegal, regardless of whether it is in the lease agreement or not? And likewise, in the same stated location, I am only liable for the prorated rent due, for the time that it takes to re-lease the apartment? I am attempting to understand. I also have issues with the apartment that the landlord has refused to fix, or ignored my requests, all in email form. Is this something that I can use as leverage when negotiating with the landlord? Would I have any legal recourse?
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 3 months ago

the city of Dallas, that a re-letting fee is illegal, regardless of whether it is in the lease agreement or not?

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It is not "illegal" per se, but it can't be used as a penalty.. See this from the Texas Tenant Advisor:

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::Some landlords will charge a "reletting fee" for having to prepare the dwelling for reletting to another tenant. Reletting fees are authorized in lease agreements often written by Texas Apartment Association (TAA). The reletting fee must be a fair amount to cover actual expenses for getting a new tenant on the hook and cannot be unfairly inflated. TAA usually sets this fee at 85 percent of a month's rent. It has been this high for years.

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Sometimes it is not proper to charge a reletting fee at all. You cannot be penalized for breaking a lease. Let's think about that again: The law forbids you from being penalized from breaking a lease early. You are not supposed to be penalized; you are only responsible for making up for the landlord's losses. So, if you terminate the lease early and a new tenant is not found, a landlord can charge you only for the total rent owed under the rest of your lease (but cannot also charge you a reletting fee or other termination fee because your paying the two months of rent essentially means that you paid the entire lease out in full).

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So, if there was only two months left on your lease, the rent for those two months is the maximum amount you could owe (it can only get lower if the landlord agrees to take less or the landlord finds another tenant to rent the premises in your place). You would not owe two months rent and a reletting fee (the fee in that case would be a penalty). You also do not automatically lose your deposit because that would be a penalty as well. The security deposit is used to pay for any damages or charges you owe (unless you agree to give it up as a part of an agreement).""

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So yes, the landlord can only hold you liable for his actual probable damages.. So for example, if you were to move out and he literally re-rents the next day, he had no damages at all and even though you broke the lease, he can't charge you anything. It is all about putting the landlord in the same position he would have been in but for the breach.

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And the repair requests probably won't help you unless it was something big, like a sewer back up, no electric, no water, no heat, mold...etc. that would make the property uninhabitable. Requests for minor repairs don't give any way out of a lease if the landlord ignores them.

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.

thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I read a lot of that already herehttp://www.texastenant.org/termination.html
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I was looking for specific legal advice from a lawyer versed in Texas real estate law
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Yes, that is a good source of info for tenants.. Whether you read it online or hear it from me, it is still legally accurate.

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But the bot***** *****ne is the landlord can only hold you liable for his actual financial damages, regardless of what the lease says..

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So I am not sure what else you are looking for here, but I can opt out and open the question to see if any other experts will jump in and confirm exactly what I have already told you...

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Lawyer: MDLawyer, Lawyer replied 3 months ago
MDLawyer
MDLawyer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6,135
Experience: 10 years in legal practice. Over 5 years in advising clients on landlord/tenant issues, including on a pro bono basis.
Verified

Barrister gave you accurate information. What other information are you needing?

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MDLawyer
MDLawyer
MDLawyer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6,135
6,135 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 10 years in legal practice. Over 5 years in advising clients on landlord/tenant issues, including on a pro bono basis.

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