Can a landlord say that you are locked into a lease for a period of time if the lease does not state that there will be repercussions if you move out early?

The lease only states that on a certain day the rent will increase. Also, I have lived in the home for 4 ½ months and have asked for a copy of the lease numerous times. The landlord also left items in the home and promised to pick them up immediately but never did so I have had to store all of the stuff in my home.

Asked on September 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The lease is a contract between landlord and tenant.  It doesn't have to state that there are repercussions for moving out early.

If you move out early, you will remain liable for the rent for the balance of the term of the lease or until the place is re-rented.  Once the place is re-rented, your obligation to pay rent ends.  The landlord cannot allow the place to remain vacant for the balance of the term of your lease without making reasonable efforts to find another tenant.  If the landlord fails to make reasonable efforts to find another tenant, the landlord has failed to mitigate (minimize) damages (the amount the landlord claims you owe) and the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly.  Reasonable efforts on the part of a landlord to find another tenant will be determined by what other landlords in the area are doing to attract new tenants; for example, posting a sign on the premises advertising the vacancy, advertising the rental in the newspaper, online, in a local rental guide, etc.


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