Posted by TenantNet on November 18, 1997 at 09:21:59:
In Reply to: New job=loss of deposit posted by CG on November 15, 1997 at 21:17:53:
: I recently accepted a new job and had to relocate. In doing so, the landlord has withheld my security deposit. However, when I first learned that I would be moving I contacted him and verbally warned him that will be vacating his property once I find another place near my job. That evening he placed a for sale sign in the front yard. Having kept the place immaculate for three open houses while I searched for a new residence, the landlord told me that he has decided not to sell, but has found new tenants and I needed to get out by the end of the month (this conversation occurring on the 12th day of the month). I mentioned that I could not possibly get out by then, but we agreed, mutually, to end the lease thirty days from that day. Well, as luck would have it, I was able to find a place and vacated the premises on the first day of the month, much to the delight of the landlord. However, now he tells me that I broke the lease and will not be returning any of my security deposit. Does he have any right to rent the premises on which I am living before I give a thirty days written notice? If so, does he have any right to keep my security deposit? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
In some areas a landlord is required to "mitigate his losses" (i.e., attempt to re-rent the unit)
before enforcing a claim for the remaining portion of the lease term against a tenant who
moves early. In NYC, it's almost assumed he can re-rent the place almost immediately (unless
of course it's trashed or the LL failed to make repairs).
This could sound like a scam. In a situation like this, he might claim he
had it up for sale, so obviously he would not be trying to re-rent it at that time.
But here, he did re-rent it and found new tenants, so it's not a question of
rent for the rest of the lease term.
Did you formally give him 30 days notice in writing? Or did you just say
you would probably be vacating at some unspecified time. It might depend on
the particularity of your "notice." If you gave him all indications you
would be moving by a particular date, then he would have a right to go
out and re-rent the place.
But you also say you "agreed" to a 30-day move out, which you complied with.
Assuming you can prove your side of th story, if he does indeed have new
tenants, then he has not suffered any economic loss and has no claim for
rent or to withhold you security deposit -- but he might try to invent some damages.
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