You have signed a 12-month lease for your apartment through July. In June, you decide to move out early, vacate the apartment, and fail to make the final lease payment. The property owner accuses...

You have signed a 12-month lease for your apartment through July. In June, you decide to move out early, vacate the apartment, and fail to make the final lease payment. The property owner accuses you of breach of contract. Is that a valid accusation?

Asked on by Mizdee

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lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

While landlord/tenant law varies from state to state, in any state, this would be considered a breach of contract.  There are landlords who require a last month's rent in deposit, but your question states that you fail to pay the last month's rent, so my answer is premised on there being no last month's deposit in the hands of the landlord.  A lease for one year provides a legal obligation to pay twelve months' rent, consideration for use of the premises.  The premises remain available to you in the final month, so the landlord has performed, and you have not.  Even assuming that the apartment remains in good repair, without sufficient notice, the landlord does not have a reasonable time in which to mitigate his or her losses with a new rental.  In a situtation in which you vacate a few months into a lease, if the landlord does not make an effort to re-rent the premises, there are courts that will hold that you are not liable for the entire balance of the lease, because of a failure to mitigate.  But in this situation, certainly, that last month is owed. 

 

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