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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 38162
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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I am looking at terminating a years lease but there is no

Customer Question

I am looking at terminating a years lease but there is no clause in my lease agreement. We prepaid for the entire year but was wondering if we are able to receive any money back from us prepaying?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Idaho
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No paperwork has been filed. We are about to send a letter to our landlord with our intent to terminate the lease
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not at this time
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

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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What is the reason you want to terminate the lease?

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Is there something wrong with the property like mold or condition issues?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
No we are moving due to personal reasons.There is a paragraph in our lease agreement that states "If the lease agreement is terminated, landlord shall return all pre-paid and unearned rent, and any amount of the security deposit recoverable by the tenant."
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
What does that mean?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Ok, here is the thing... that is written in favor of the landlord in the event that something happens to the property so he has to terminate. It gives him an out so he doesn't have to put you up in a hotel indefinitely if something happens to the house.

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If you have prepaid, then it will be tough to actually terminate because you have already paid for the entire year. So the landlord could refuse to accept any request to terminate and you really can't breach because you already paid..

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With that said, you are kind of stuck here and about your only real recourse is to explain your situation to the landlord and see if he will voluntarily advertise to try and find a new tenant. If he can do so, then he would owe you a refund for any unearned prepaid rent and your security deposit..

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As a landlord myself for over 26 years, I would always prefer to have someone living in a dwelling rather than leaving it empty because anything can happen to it while vacant and you don't know about it until you happen to come check the place. So the landlord should agree to try to find a new tenant...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok, that's I figured. I wanted to be very respectful of this matter and explain to him that if we knew of the circumstance we would not of prepaid for the entire year. Do you believe we would be able to terminate the lease given the circumstance?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

If you are asking if you can legally terminate the lease, then unfortunately the answer is no. A change in your personal situation wouldn't give you legal grounds to terminate it without repercussions.

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And since you have prepaid, you can't really terminate it by not paying rent because you are paid up...

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But if the landlord agrees to try and find a new tenant, then yes, you could terminate with his/her permission and would only owe rent until they found someone new to take over the tenancy.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok, so as long as we explain the situation to him and are able to assist or find a new tenant we should be ok to do so? My question is if he or us finds a replacement tenant what if he decides not to return our prepaid rent to us and security deposit?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Just so we are clear here... the landlord has no legal duty to do this... If he is a nice guy, he will. but he doesn't have to..

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But if either of you find a tenant that is accepted by him to replace you, then yes, he would have to refund any prepaid funds that were remaining. He can't legally "double dip" and keep your prepaids as well as charge a new tenant.

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However if he just says "no" and you find out that he rented to a new tenant a month after you left, you can then sue him in small claims court under a breach of contract claim for any prepaid rent from the time the new tenant moved in.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Do you have any recommendations on how I should write or assign the letter/email to my landlord that is appropriate to the situation? Also how should I address the prospects of finding or assisting with the findings of a new tenant for my landlord?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

If you can, I would speak to them personally about the issue and ask them first if they would allow you to either sublet the property or you and he try to find a new tenant to take over the lease by assignment to replace you. And make sure that you mention that of course the landlord would have final say on whether the new person was acceptable. You will help with all showings and work with them however necessary.

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To be honest, the landlord may be resistant and just think "They are prepaid and I can just let the place sit and deduct the rent each month"... and legally they would be within their rights to do so.

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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I totally understand. I want to be 100% transparent with him as best as possible with this situation. So I should just address the situation as best as possible and see if he would be willing to work with us in trying to find a new tenant. So hypothetically if we have to move and no longer can stay at the property what will them happen if the property is vacant?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Correct, if your landlord is a decent person, he will at least try to find a new tenant to take over..

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If you moved out and he is a jerk or can't find a good tenant, then the property would just sit empty until the tenancy was up and then the landlord would have to refund your security deposit within 21 days of the end of the tenancy.

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It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. If you ever need me in the future, you can post a new question with "For Barrister" in the caption and the JustAnswer employees will get it to me.

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If you feel I have answered all your questions, I would very much appreciate a 5 star rating by clicking on the rating scale on your screen as that is the only way I receive credit for my work.

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Thanks much

Barrister

Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Hello again,

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I just wanted to touch base with you and check in.

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Did you have any further questions I can help with?

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Thanks much

Barrister