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Loren, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33156
Experience:  30 years of real estate practice experience.
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I leased a loft through a broker and paid a broker's fee,

Customer Question

I leased a loft through a broker and paid a broker's fee, first/last months rent. The lease term was from August 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017. I have not yet taken possession of the keys and notified the broker on July 28th that my relocation to Boston wasn't going to happen because I was no longer employed the company for which I was moving to Boston for.
The broker said there was nothing that he could do because I had a legally signed lease with the landlord. He said that I needed to contact her to see what could be done regarding terminating the lease. It should be noted that I had absolutely no contact with the landlord since she lives in Germany. The only contact that I had was with the broker and a friend's of the landlord who lives in the same building. All of my contact was done via phone, text, e-mail or FaceTime. In addition, the brokers fee, first/last month rent was sent by wire transfer directly to the broker.
Please advise if I have any legal recourse. Thanks.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 12 months ago.

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

Expert:  Loren replied 12 months ago.

Unfortunately, your lease is binding and enforceable for the lease term stated in the contract. This is true even before you take possession. Therefore, without a provision in the lease providing a right to early termination or landlord breach (constituting constructive eviction), you are liable for the payment of rent and other obligations specified in the agreement until the end of the lease term.

So, you have a few options. First, you can try to find a new tenant to either be a subtenant or assignee of your lease.

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

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

The last option puts you 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.

Expert:  Loren replied 12 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.