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JBaxLaw, Lawyer
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Good afternoon, We have rented an apartment in NYC for the

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Good afternoon,

We have rented an apartment in NYC for the last 18 months. Initially we had a 1 year lease that we renewed for another year. For work reasons, we then had to relocated and we informed the landlord nearly two months before our proposed move-out date that we were planning to leave.

He then informed us that he was happy with us to leave the contract once he found a replacement tenant that was paying our terms ($2,950 per months). He also hired an agent that was marketing the apartment for significantly more at $3,200.

A few weeks later he informed us that a tenant has been found and we should vacate the property by the end of August (our proposed move-out date):


Dear XXX,

Based on our mutual agreement your lease will therefore be terminated on 31 august 2013. You are therefore responsible for rent payment until 31 august 2013 and for the moving out fees as explained in the attached memo.

Please e-mail me the required certificate of insurance from the moving company.

Please send your $500 dollars for the moving out fee and $1,000 for the move out deposit payable to XXX to my colleague by 15 August 2013:


XXX will schedule an appointment with you for the walk through and to get the keys back from you.

Thank you and regards,



We then paid the fee and deposit. 1.5 weeks later the lettings agent asked us to show the apartment again as apparently the deal with the prospective tenant fell through.

Since then the landlord has been bullying us with various email stating that we now need to pay the rent until the end of our lease or until the landlord finds a new tenant.

I would assume that the confirmation of the landlord that our contract would mutually end on August 31 is legally binding as it was not conditional to anything. Could you please provide your view of the situation and indicate what steps we can undertake to get our deposit back?

Thank you!

I am a professional here to assist you. I appreciate your use of this service. A landlord and tenant may enter into a mutual release of a lease obligation. Here, minimally an offer was presented in writing and requested that certain fees be paid in order to fulfill the tenant obligation. When such fees were paid, the landlord certainly cannot rescind the mutual termination. The landlord may try to file a civil suit to collect unpaid rent at which time such a tenant may supply a copy of the email release along with evidence of payment of the required lease termination move-out fees as a defense.

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Thank you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Thank you very much for your fast response. This makes sense. Would you be able to provide a case reference for this?


And also how do we go about receiving our rental deposit back?


Thank you

This is basic contract law. Parties are entitled to mutually terminate an agreement. Was terminated, there is no right to unilaterally reinstate the contract. The fact that a future tenant failed to meet their obligations or that the landlord failed to obtain a signed lease from that tenant has no impact your mutual release of this lease obligation. This is a basic principle of contract law and there may be some old cases that reflect this concept. Case law research requires the use of paid services I do not have access to for the purpose of supplying information here. But, you can present an argument to a court without case law as an unrepresented party. If the landlord fails to return your deposit, you may need to take them to court. NYC Housing Court supplies forms and instructions for that process.

Please take a moment to leave a positive service rating. I would appreciate it. I rely on these ratings to provide this information. Please follow-up as needed.

Thank you
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