What to do if my tenants promise to pay the rent of 1 year in advance but break the lease and move out early?

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What to do if my tenants promise to pay the rent of 1 year in advance but break the lease and move out early?

The orignal rent is 3300/month and not is 3135/month; thus my husband and I agree to give them 5% discount on the rent. If the tenants break the lease and move out of the property within the year, can state that I do not need to pay back to the tenants. Is it legal to do so?

Asked on December 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You could certainly keep that portion of the rent which was for that period of time they did reside in the unit, prior to breaking the lease. After breaking the lease, you must legally make efforts to minimize or mitigate your damages, by re-renting the unit. As long as you make reasonable, good faith efforts, you may keep an amount of rent equal to the time, after they broke the lease, the unit remains unrented. However, the law does not let you actually make a profit from breach of a contract or lease, so if the unit is re-rented prior to the end of the tenants' lease term, you'd have to return that portion of the rent which would be for the time from and after the re-renting.


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