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TenantNet Forum Archives 1996-2002
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Re: Breaking the lease!

Posted by TenantNet on June 16, 1996 at 14:07:29:

In Reply to: Breaking the lease! posted by Linda Chen on June 16, 1996 at 03:11:27:

: I'm about to enter a lease that is for 2 years. Unfortunately, I am only intending
: to stay for one year. My agent inform me that is easy to break the lease and if not,
: easy to sublet it to others. Is it true and can the management withhold my deposits for
: that? Thank you!!!

Be careful. Why not sign for only one year instead? If this is a rent stabilized unit,
then you have that option. If the landlord is telling you you don't have
that option, he's lying, but you run the risk of not getting the unit. I
would check with a lawyer on how best to handle that but you should create
a paper trail to prove that the landlord is not allowing you the one-year option.
(use a pocket tape recorder -- record the phone call).
Generally when you sign a lease you are responsible for the entire amount
for the term of the lease. But if the owner breaches the lease by not supplying
repairs and services or other things that are part of the lease, you might have
cause to leave (just don't let him know you were planning to leave anyway).
Although not statutory, NY case law has generally held that owners have the
duty to mitigate damages when a tenant leaves -- meaning he has to affirmatively
try to re-rent the unit. You can bring him sublettors and that might waive
any claim he might have on you if he refuses the sublettors -- if they are
creditworthy and otherwise acceptable. But check our material on subletting first.
Landlords can (and will) withhold security deposits for almost any reason,
inncluding imaginary reasons -- putting you in the position to have to
go to court to recover. Even though most leases forbid it, many tenants just
withhold the last month's rent in lieu of the security deposit. That puts
the shoe on the other foot where the owner has to seek you out.
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