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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36990
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I live in Columbus Ohio and my lease is up on March 31st. I

Customer Question

I live in Columbus Ohio and my lease is up on March 31st. I work for the Department of Defense as an civilian IT Specialist. I am being transferred/PCS to Germany. I report to my new job on the 7th of March. I am not active duty but I do have orders issued for the move. Is it possible to break my lease, keep my deposit and not have to pay for the last months rent
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Unfortunately, the Servicemember's Civil Relief Act only applies to active duty military, not contractors or civilians. So that wouldn't help you or give you legal grounds to terminate your lease contract.

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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 employment 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.

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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