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Breaking a lease

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Breaking a lease

Postby moved » Tue Jul 15, 2003 3:34 pm

I recently left my beloved NYC to take a new job in another city. Had been living in Battery Park City for about 18 mos. Just renewed my lease for 2 years and had to break my lease with about 18 mos left on it. The "termination agreement" I signed did say that I had to continue paying rent, but that the landlord (a huge NYC real estate concern) would continue to market. They have not done so. They rent direct (no agents usually) and market via web site. My apartment has not appeared on the web site. Now they are asking me to pay 1 mo for an agen, 1 mo for a new tenant incentive, and continue paying rent. Part of the reason why they haven't been able to rent it yet is because they were charging me above market (mitigated by the LMDC grant benefit, which is no longer available). Now the rent appears much to high. With 18 months left on the lease @ $2k per month, they might come after me. What are my options? Would love to hear from an attny or get the name of one to talk to. Thanks!
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Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2003 1:01 am

Re: Breaking a lease

Postby custudent » Tue Jul 15, 2003 5:51 pm

You are obligated to pay your rent until the apartment is re-rented. The landlord is obligated to make reasonable attempt to mitigate your damages by signing a lease with a new tenant as soon as possible. I don’t know if they are obligated to lower the rent to the current market rate. But if they do lower the rent, you will be responsible for the difference for the remainder of your lease. If your rent is $2000, and they re-rent the apartment for $1600, you are responsible for $400 per month until your lease expires.

It’s difficult to judge whether or not your apartment is being properly marketed. Many buildings that rent without agents do not market each apartment individually. They don’t list each vacancy in the real estate section or on their website. Instead, they show all available studio apartments to anyone who comes to their rental office looking for a studio. I think this is a valid marketing strategy. Unless you know that your apartment is not being shown, despite interest and demand, you can’t say that your landlord has failed to market your apartment.

You are responsible for all landlord costs associated with finding a new tenant. In this market, many landlords are paying the broker’s fee. Few tenants are willing. So I consider this expense to be quite reasonable. The one-month’s rent incentive is also a reasonable marketing cost. I know landlords that are giving 2 free months on a 1-year lease and 4 free months on a 2-year lease.

I understand that it might be difficult to pay $4000 up-front and to continue paying the rent on this apartment and your current home until a new tenant is found. Perhaps you could structure a payment plan for the marketing costs. How many months is the landlord holding in escrow? They probably have at least 1 for security deposit and may also have your last month’s rent. Ask them to inspect the apartment now and use your security deposit to pay the broker. If they have two months, ask them to use your last month’s rent for the next tenant’s free month.

Did you have a guarantor? If so, seek their advice as they will be held responsible for any rent or expenses you do not pay.
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 1:01 am
Location: upper west side

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