Am I bound to serve a lease if it has no terms about me terminating early?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Am I bound to serve a lease if it has no terms about me terminating early?

I signed a lease that ends in 8 months. However, the section of the lease that talkes about “cancellation by tenant in initial term” has been intentionally deleted. Am I bound to serve that first year? I already want to move out.

Asked on June 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The lease is a contract between landlord and tenant.  Although the lease does not mention early termination by the tenant, you are still bound by the terms of your lease for the duration of your lease.  If you break the lease and move out now with eight months remaining, you will remain liable for the rent for the balance of the term of the lease or until the place is re-rented.  When the place is re-rented, your obligation to pay rent ends.  The landlord is required to mitigate (minimize) damages (the amount  the landlord claims you owe) and cannot allow the rental to remain vacant for the balance of the term of the lease without making reasonable efforts to find another tenant.  If the landlord does not make reasonable efforts to find another tenant, the landlord will have failed to mitigate damages and the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly.  Reasonable efforts by the landlord to find another tenant will be determined by what other landlords in the area are doing to attract tenants; for example, posting a sign on the property advertising the vacancy, advertising the rental in the newspaper, in a local rental guide, online, etc.

If the landlord finds a new tenant, but charges the new tenant less rent than you were paying, you may be liable for the difference in rent for the balance of the term of your lease.  The landlord must have a valid reason such as market conditions, for charging the new tenant less rent.  If the landlord does not have a valid reason for charging the new tenant less rent, the landlord has failed to mitigate damages and the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly, and you won't be liable for the difference in rent for the balance of the term of your lease.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption