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No - keep looking

Posted by Provost on October 07, 2001 at 22:42:45:

In Reply to: If you notify a landlord 60+ days in advance, can you break a lease? posted by PW on October 07, 2001 at 20:41:54:

I think the obvious advice in your situation would be to keep looking at apartments, until you find a landlord willing to sign a lease on your terms, which are not unreasonable.

Once you sign a lease for a certain timeframe it is set and cannot be changed except by agreement of BOTH landlord and tenant. Don't sign a lease expecting to break it. What you may have heard is that, when a tenant has broken a lease, the landlord can "mitigate damages" - attempt to rerent the apartment as soon as possible. However even if he does this, he may incur a vacancy of several weeks, as well as not insignificant expenses in advertising and screening for new tenants, all of which can be charged to the old tenant.

The one and only exception to all this - which is timely to mention now - is for active-duty military personnel who are called into service elsewhere. To break their lease they must have previously informed their landlords that they are in the military and provide 30 days notice (one full rent cycle)when breaking the lease. If you're a student, many landlords in college towns offer 9 month leases, but perhaps charge more per month, since they are unlikely to rent the place during the 3 months of summer. Bottom line is, negotiate with the landlord or keep looking. Once you've signed something, don't count of getting out of it.

: Our landlord refuses to give us a 9 month lease and we know we need to move out in 9 months. My understanding is that we would be liable for the remaining 3 months rent to finish out our lease until the apartment was re-letted. However, we were told that most states have laws that basically say if you give sufficient notice (say 60-90 days) you could escape this clause. Is that true? Where could I go to find out?

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