Breaking rental lease in NJ

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Breaking rental lease in NJ

If i break lease of renting apartment because i am buying home first time, do i get an help with respect to penalty for breaking the lease in NJ

Asked on May 11, 2009 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Buying a new home isn't a legal excuse for breaking your lease, and I don't know of any program that would help you out with this.

I'm not sure what you mean by a "penalty" for breaking the lease, since I don't have the document to read through.  Ordinarily, if you move out before the end of the lease, you are still liable for the rent on the rest of the lease -- but only for as long as it reasonably takes the landlord to re-rent the property.  I would be surprised to see a New Jersey court enforce a penalty clause, that's called a penalty or liquidated damages, for anything more, because the law frowns on that sort of thing, and will only award actual loss.

You probably have a security deposit of one-and-a-half month's rent, since that is the most that is legal in New Jersey.  As long as you give the landlord your new address, you have the right to a written statement of how that security deposit, and the interest on the deposit, is applied (an itemized statement of the cost to clean or repair anything, beyond ordinary wear and tear, and any time that the apartment was empty before a new tenant could be found), and a refund of the remaining part of the deposit, within 30 days after the termination of your lease (which is when the lease expires, or a new tenant moves in, whichever is first).

If the landlord doesn't obey this law, you can sue for double damages (whatever money you should have gotten back) plus attorney's fees.


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