After you pay an agreed to lease termination fee, can additional money be asked for after the fact?

I got into dental school and had to get out fast. I told the landlord on the 3rd that I had to leave; she said she’d count this month toward the 30 days notice and I could just pay the amount of 2 months rent “buyout fee” and be set. When my wife came in, she asked if that was all we needed and the landlord said “that’s it”. My wife wrote the check and put “lease buyout” in the memo line, which they cashed. A week ago we got a bill for another $800 (including the a month’s rent because they now aren’t counting that month as 30 days. We called her and she wants us to pay that now too.

Asked on September 30, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the problem with amendments to written contracts involving real property and leases: they need to be in writing.  In fact, I bet your lease states that it can not be changed orally.  I would check.  The writing in the memo of the check line is self-serving.  Did you have any witnesses to the agreement other than the parties involved?  If not then you may be stuck.  But I would take your lease to a tenant's association or an attorney to review on a consultation basis.  I would not b surprised, though, if she sues you for the money.  At that point in time she may ask for the remainder of the leasehold.  Good luck.  

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.