TenantNet Forum

Where tenants can seek help and help others



Breaking/Surrender of Lease

Rights for non-regulated tenants

Moderator: TenantNet

Breaking/Surrender of Lease

Postby wigglewaggle » Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:48 pm

After several years in the same apartment, I moved from NYC to another state in the middle of one of my annual leases. Couldn't help it, got a new job and it didn't line up with the end of the lease. I told the landlord of our move a month ahead of time, since we were moving in the middle of the month. He started showing the apartment, but made it clear he wasn't allowing us to break the lease, that we would be responsible for rent until he re-rented the apartment. I kind of expected that from him since, even though that's his right, most landlords would have been happy to raise the rent and re-rent it. Ever other tenant that moved out of his building, left hating him and in the middle of the night without telling him.

Two things. He never wanted any of our help looking for new tenants, he is very selective of the realtors he uses, so I could not help him get someone else to take our lease. Also, once we moved out he renovated the apartment, which means no one could move in before the next first of the month. So now he wants another month's rent even though he just put the place on the market after cosmetic renovations (for the record, it was in better condition when we left it than when we moved in). AND since we paid rent for a month where the apartment was uninhabitable due to the construction, should we still be on the hook for additional rent? Doesn't that imply that he has re-possessed the apartment from us? He is also threatening to charge us with normal wear and tear charges that are irrelevant to our time as tenants.

Now I just learned that he has indeed rented the apartment, though I don't know if the next lease begins this month or the next month [EDIT: a realtor told me next tenant is an 11/15 move in, which is the same month we are being asked to pay rent in full]. I suspect he was always looking for someone for the following month, and he assumed we would pay for this month regardless.

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by wigglewaggle on Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
wigglewaggle
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:30 pm

Re: Breaking/Surrender of Lease

Postby TenantNet » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:17 pm

A lease is a contract and a tenant is liable for the rent until the end of the term ... barring any defenses or claims that might abate or reduce the rent for example, lack of repairs.

Leaving in the middle of a lease, even for a new job, is not sufficient to overcome this. If the landlord did re-rent the place at the same or higher rent, then your obligation would end. I would check the small print of the lease to see if anything addresses this, or if there's any right to assign the lease.

As you are unregulated, the incentive to increase the rent isn't automatic.

Practically as you are out of state, and presumably have no assets in NYC/NYS, it will be more difficult for the LL to collect on any judgment. However, if he does bring a suit, if you choose to defend, the venue would be in NYC courts.

I would tell him no on any demand and see what happens. Of course, if you haven't already, don't give him your new address or phone.

If you do end up in court, that he accepted the return of possession and began to renovate could be an argument that he accepted the lease termination.

If he just wants one more month's rent, that seems a small demand compared to some where the LL wants all the months until the end of term.

And you don't mention about the security deposit, but I'm guessing you didn't get that back. Was that just one month? Of course that can be used against any months he might claim.

Wear and tear (i.e., painting, carpets, etc) is for when items are used for their intended purpose. He can't legally use any wear and tear items against the deposit.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 8460
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Re: Breaking/Surrender of Lease

Postby wigglewaggle » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:24 pm

Thank you for your response.

I just learned that he HAS indeed re-rented the apartment for 11/15 (he is asking for entire Nov rent from us, we paid for Oct, but surrendered an empty apartment early in the month).

I haven't addressed the security deposit (and pet deposit) because he hasn't claimed our lease has ended, it hasn't come up. I wasn't expecting it back and am happy to let it go if we can have this landlord out of our life (also, didn't want to give him our current address).
wigglewaggle
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:30 pm

Re: Breaking/Surrender of Lease

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:48 pm

NYC doesn't have any requirement for a landlord to mitigate (which is unusual), so the landlord could, in theory, have told you "your lease runs out on X date, I expect you to pay your rent until that date." He's not allowed to double-dip, but he doesn't actually have to find a new tenant.

THAT SAID...

When the landlord took possession of the apartment, and did renovations, he waived the ability to continue to collect rent from you.

Technically, if you started November, he's not obliged to pro-rate you, so he could double-dip for the remainder of the month.

If this ended up in court, you'd probably be on the hook for your November rent, minus whatever he's getting from the new tenant for 11/15-30.

The security deposit is another issue - if there isn't damage beyond normal wear and tear, then he's obliged to return that.

Net/net, assuming the security deposit was for a month, you're probably owed about half a month's rent back.

Whether you want to pursue that or not is up to you.
BubbaJoe123
 
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:31 pm

Re: Breaking/Surrender of Lease

Postby TenantNet » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:26 pm

I love my echo.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 8460
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City


Return to NYC Non-Regulated Apartments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron