Must an early lease termination fee be specifically stated in a lease?

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Must an early lease termination fee be specifically stated in a lease?

I broke an apartment lease.  According to the lease itself, to buy-out the lease was $1000 and a 2 month notice. The complex let me break the lease without the 2 month notice but they are saying that when I moved out I still had to pay 2 months rent on top of the $1,000 lease buy-out. It does not state in the lease that if I don’t give the 2 month notice that I would have to pay 2 months rent. If the lease doesn’t state I have to pay this penalty, am I obligated to pay it?

Asked on December 26, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The lease that you signed is a contract as between you and the owner or agent of the owner (a management company).  The terms of the lease will govern the actions of the parties involved.  So really someone needs to read the lease on your behalf in order to be able to determine your obligations thereunder.  Generally speaking I would assume that you are still obligated to pay your rent on top of the buy out amount.  The buy out amount is a form of penalty that you agreed to to allow you to break the lease and the lease assumes you are staying the additional 2 months.  However, since the complex waived the 2 month notice and I am assuming that you vacated immediately, you should not be obligated to pay rent for the time that you are not occupying the apartment.  hat would be an additional penalty and you did not bargain for that in the contract.  Good luck.  


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