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I have a lease break. Here are the details: On December 29th…

Hi, I have...

Hi, I have a lease break. Here are the details:

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?

On December 29th I gave official notice to the office.On January 6th I handed in my keys to the manager on duty. At this point the apartment had been professionally cleaned (both carpets and interior). Although the carpets needed to be cleaned again and I accept that.I had attempted to rent the unit on my own for about a weeks time over Christmas and upon speaking to Dani she informed me that it would be much better to just do a lease break as she would list the property on the Renwood site that garnered a lot of traffic. After speaking to her I decided to go this route - although as a licensed property manager myself for more than 7 years, I have a lot of experience listing and marketing rentals.On January 15th I logged onto Craigslist and the Renwood site to see the property and it was nowhere to be found. I emailed into the office and was told by Chris Neugubauer that there was an application in on it (although not approved) so they took the listing down while the potential tenant was screened. I am not sure why an ad for an apartment would be taken down if not officially rented. I inquired how long the ad would be down - essentially how long the application process would take and was told by Chris " Unfortunately, I am unauthorized to share that information with you once it is completed you will be notified." I did not ask for specifics on the applicant just a basic timeline as to what to expect and when the ad would be back up again.On January 21st (7 days later) I had not heard from anyone regarding the status of the unit and I logged onto the Renwood web-site to discover that the unit was listed again but with an available date of January 23rd (I have a screen shot of this). I wrote to Chris again asking why this date was listed when it should have been available immediately. He responded that he did not know but that he would pass along my note to Dani in the morning.On January 22nd Dani returned my email and said that she did not know why it was showing as available on the 23rd. That it might have had something to do with me putting in my notice and then the system tacking on 20 days.Now I am hit with a fee of $1,000+. This is unacceptable in light of the marketing mistakes that happened continually and most likely contributed to the unit not being rented for more than a month. No one took responsibility or ownership of these mistakes and instead it was a game of pointing fingers and each other and shrugging it off. The effort that was put in was not sufficient to mitigate my losses due to the fact that it was not advertised and when it was it was advertised incorrectly with a date much further out. This is the legal responsibility of the landlord and it was not performed (RCW 59.18.310). The management company is now telling me that they took a "holding fee" and took my unit off the market for 7 - 10 days. Then the applicant backed out. To me, this does not seem that my losses were mitigated. Thoughts?

Lawyer's Assistant: Has any paperwork been filed?

Paperwork for what? A lawsuit?

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No - is this a live person?

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/9/2018
Gerald-Esquire
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,436
Experience: Over 30 years of experience
Verified

Hello,
Thank you for using Just Answer. Please bear with me while I review your question. I will respond fully shortly. Thank you for your patience.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
WA state

I am working on your answer now. I am sorry for the delay. It takes some time to prepare a complete answer. Please note the phone call requests are generated automatically from the system. I do not control them.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Kind regards,

Gerald

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Hello,

Thank you for your patience and thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

If you have an early termiantion of the lease there are a number of factors that get weighed by the court to determine what if any money the tenant owes the landlord for breaking the lease.

The first thing that you have to look at are the terms of the written lease. What was agreed to when the lease was entered into.

BUT beyond the lease agreement the landlord has an obligation to "Mitigate" thier damages. This means that they are obligated to rent the apartment to a qualified tenant if one is available.

The other interesting issue that arises in the fact pattern that you describe was the promise by the agent of the landlord to advertise and finda qualified tenant. They also went further and dissuaded you from finding a substitute tenant. These actions create a legal issue called "Estoppel." By telling you the things they were going to do to mitigate damages, and disuading you from finding a substitute tenant, they created a situation where you reasonably relied on their statements to your detriment. When this happens the law allows you to defend against their claim by asserting that you were justified in relying on their assertions and that they should be bound to those assertions. This "Promissory Estoppel" is an equitable defense and you must raise it to the landlord in disputing their claims.

If they have refused to return your security dep[osit based on this situation you may wish to sue them in small claims court for the return of the deposit. You may also claim punitive damages and be awarded them if the Court determines that the landlord was unreasonable.

I hope the information I provide is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow-up questions, feel free to ask.

If you ask a follow-up question and I do not respond immediately, it is because I am temporarily unavailable. I promise to respond as soon as I return. Please note that I am often unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.

Please do not forget to give me a positive rating. It adds nothing to your costs but helps me greatly. Thank you.

If you are dissatisfied with my response, PLEASE let me know before giving me a negative review so that I may try to be of better assistance. Or, if you prefer, let me know and I can “Opt Out” and your question can be re-posted without additional cost to you. I will be fair to you, and only ask the same from you.

Good luck.

Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.

Kind regards,

Gerald

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Also see this link for additional information that may be useful to you:

https://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/resource/your-rights-as-a-tenant-in-washington

ind regards,

Gerald

(Please do not forget to rate me – click the five stars. It adds nothing additional to your costs, but it helps me greatly. Plus it is good Karma for you. Thank you.)

Gerald-Esquire
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,436
Experience: Over 30 years of experience
Verified
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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Excellent. Thanks so much - this is very helpful.

Thank you. Good luck.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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