What to do if my landlord wants to end our 1 year lease after 8 months but still wants to hold me liable for rent?

Landlord wants to end our lease after 8 months but still wants me to be responsible for rent until the end of the lease or until she gets a new tenant. I have paid my rent on time every month and do not owe her any money. If I move out when she wants, I’m afraid she will try to say that I abandoned the prpperty; if I stay, I’m afraid she will try to find some reason to evict me. She can get more money renting to a new tenan, but I don’t think she’s allowed to do this. Isn’t this why I have a lease in the first place?

Asked on June 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I may be confused about the facts here, but you are correct.  If your landlord wants you to voluntarily leave before your lease is up, you can do so, but you don't have to pay for the part of the term during which you weren't there.

It sounds like you should move anyway because your landlord is unprofessional.  I would write up a letter/contract that acknowledges that you are leaving your lease early, are not liable for any unpaid rents, will be receiving your deposit back, and have not abandoned your lease.  Ask the landlord to sign it.  If they don't, then tell them you are going to stay for the duration of your lease under its terms. 

If the landlord threatens to evict you, your may have a cause of action for wrongful eviction.  If the landlord takes any steps towards evicting you without actual cause and legal notice, then contact your local district attorney's office and they may take criminal action against the landlord.

Best of luck with your landlord.

If you are in the Ventura County Area feel free to contact me.


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