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need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

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need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby ukblondie » Sun May 28, 2006 10:53 pm

Living in VA in current house for past 2.5 years. Everything mostly good except for running out of water last summer! Anyway hubby is Canadian and just got out of USMC and a tour in Iraq. We need to move to BC Canada to help take care of his g'ma and gave 2.5 months notice to landlord to terminate lease early. LL said that if we did we'd have to find a new renter that he'd aprove of at cost to us and that we'd loose our damage deposit and have to pay an extra months rent. I will not pay an extra months rent we can't afford or for an ad to get a new renter as he'd have to at end of lease anyway. Plus we found a good renter but he turned them down becuase they are south american. Is there any law that we could state that would release us from the lease without penalty given that we are moving country? I know that i can kiss my deposit behind so i kinda feel like just ditching and leaving the deposit he said that we wouldn't get anyway. Also there is no damage, just standard wear and tear. Thanks for your input. Jen
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Re: need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby Downtown » Mon May 29, 2006 8:12 am

Comes down to what is written in lease (breaking/assignment) and/or state law governing same.
Not sure of VA law, as to LL mitigating damages by having to rerent. LL could sue you in Civil Court for remainder of lease....which could effect future credit.
Better to know legality...if nothing in lease then state/local law prevails. [Might not be legal for LL to assess penalty.] A consult with tenant atty. could answer how to proceed. Also try to google state/ local tenant laws.
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Re: need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby Landlord's Boy » Thu Jun 01, 2006 2:39 pm

Did you explain to your LL that husband is a vet returning from Iraq? I would never do such a thing...word might get out and I'd lose a lot of potential tenants.

I note that the Virginia courts are normally partial to landlords. However, if do go to Civil Court, be sure to mention your situation to the judge. If you are polite, well-mannered, and honest in your dealings with the LL and Court, she may become sympathetic and go easy on you and waive almost everything. Consult a good tenant attorney to find out for sure.
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Re: need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby HardKnocks » Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:34 pm

A security deposit is not intended to be a slap on the wrist or kept as a penalty for imagined slights. It's not a reward to the landlord. If there is no damage, you get your deposit back. Chances are your state has a law saying LL cannot double-dip... i.e. collect rent from two tenants in the same month, and that once a new tenant is found, you're off the hook.

There is no "penalty" for doing this, and your security deposit is not in any way connected to finding a new tenant to take over your lease. He has no right to demand what amounts to two months' extra rent just because someone took over your lease. As long as there is no interruption in his income, you don't owe him anything extra. He doesn't get a reward for letting you leave.

When WILL landlords learn what a security deposit is actually for?! And that they can't legally turn tenants down because of their nationality?

<small>[ June 02, 2006, 03:35 PM: Message edited by: Bleary-eyed tenant ]</small>
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Re: need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby Landlord's Boy » Sun Jun 04, 2006 9:18 pm

There is no "penalty" for doing this, and your security deposit is not in any way connected to finding a new tenant to take over your lease.

Things work a bit differently in VA than in NY. I think the judge has more discretion and can award the LL reasonable administrative and legal costs related to getting a new tenant with the money coming out of the SD.
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Re: need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby HardKnocks » Mon Jun 05, 2006 9:51 am

The OP found a new tenant on her own, at no cost to the LL, and that tenant was turned down due to his nationality. OP did not specify if this person was a legal resident, though.

This LL is asking for:

1) New tenant at cost to OP
2) The security deposit, even with no damages
3) Extra month's rent

So where are the "costs" to the LL? The OP would be paying for finding the new tenant. The LL is asking for that PLUS two months' rent as a "penalty." In this case, I don't understand how your response applies to the situation. What is there to award to the LL here?
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Re: need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby Landlord's Boy » Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:17 am

In this specific case I'm not sure if there is anything or not, because the information presented is incomplete. I just wanted to make a general statement.

I will add that such legal & admin costs that may be awarded are typically a few hundred dollars, which is probably far less then the amount OP pays for two months' rent.
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Re: need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby HardKnocks » Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:55 am

OK. That makes sense. :)

My point is that all too often LL's say "Oh, you want to leave early? Fine. Then I'm keeping your deposit!" as if the deposit is some sort of all-purpose slush fund to be used in case the tenant does something the LL doesn't like. Like your punishment for breaking his insane "no guests after 10pm" rule is to lose your deposit. You had a loud party once. No deposit for you!

And tenants don't realize that breaking a lease is not against the law and doesn't incur a "penalty" unless the unit is left unoccupied after a reasonable effort to fill the vacancy. If the LL incurs no costs, his income is uninterrupted and there are no damages to the property, he has no right to keep the deposit as a "penalty fee" for breaking the lease. That's not what it's for. And he CERTAINLY has no right to demand an extra month's rent on top of it!
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Re: need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby Aubergine » Mon Jun 05, 2006 7:42 pm

But Bleary, remember that in the wonderful progressive state of New York, it is still the rule that the tenant who abandons the premises before the end of the term is not relieved of the obligation to pay the rent on time every month for the remainder of the lease term. The landlord is free to sit idly by and let the apartment stand empty while continuing to demand rent from the departed tenant according to the terms of the lease. It is only if the landlord chooses to accept the surrender of the apartment and attempts to re-rent it that the damages from the breach are mitigated. A landlord who wants to punish the tenant can wait until the end of the lease term and sue for the entire amount of unpaid rent, plus attorneys' fees.

The foregoing is a harsh and antiquated rule that most other states have abandoned. A tenant in Virginia should check into the law there.
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Re: need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby HardKnocks » Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:33 am

But if a new tenant is found by either the tenant or the LL and the income stream is not interrupted, the LL *still* feels he is entitled to keep the security deposit as a punishment--even with no damages to the property--and tenants don't know that this is not allowed.

This is what bothers me. The fact that LLs make such a stink over tenants living out their security, whining "but that's not what it's forrrrrr!" but then have no problem using the security for a host of other self-serving purposes that are also not what it's for.

The LL in this case is demanding the security deposit plus an month's rent as a penalty, even if a new tenant is found and his income is uninterrupted. That ain't right, no matter where you live. And I doubt it's legal.
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Re: need a way out! Moving country and LL won't release fro

Postby Aubergine » Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:06 pm

Va. Code Ann. § 55-248.35

CODE OF VIRGINIA
TITLE 55. PROPERTY AND CONVEYANCES
CHAPTER 13.2. VIRGINIA RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT
ARTICLE 5. LANDLORD REMEDIES

Va. Code Ann. § 55-248.35 (2006)

§ 55-248.35. Remedy after termination

If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord may have a claim for possession and for rent and a separate claim for actual damages for breach of the rental agreement, reasonable attorney's fees as provided in § 55-248.31, and the cost of service of any notice under § 55-225 or § 55-248.31 or process by a sheriff or private process server which cost shall not exceed the amount authorized by § 55-248.31:1, which claims may be enforced, without limitation, by the institution of an action for unlawful entry or detainer. Actual damages for breach of the rental agreement may include a claim for such rent as would have accrued until the expiration of the term thereof or until a tenancy pursuant to a new rental agreement commences, whichever first occurs; provided that nothing herein contained shall diminish the duty of the landlord to mitigate actual damages for breach of the rental agreement. In obtaining post-possession judgments for actual damages as defined herein, the landlord shall not seek a judgment for accelerated rent through the end of the term of the tenancy.

In any unlawful detainer action brought by the landlord, this section shall not be construed to prevent the landlord from being granted by the court a simultaneous judgment for money due and for possession of the premises without a credit for any security deposit. Upon the tenant vacating the premises either voluntarily or by a writ of possession, security deposits shall be credited to the tenants' account by the landlord in accordance with the requirements of § 55-248.15:1.
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