What are a tenant’s rights if they break theirlease early?

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What are a tenant’s rights if they break theirlease early?

My tenant has exercised his option to his break lease. Under its terms, he forfeits the last months rent and security deposit. Now he informs me that, if I rent the condo in less than 2 months he is entitled to a percentage of his money returned (based on number of days, etc). State law says you can’t double rent. I feel that I am potentially being penalized for his decision. He broke the lease under agreed terms and that is it. Correct? An additional burden has been placed on me now due to changing plans, time to advertise, etc. I would think that since he broke the lease, the forfeiture clause is invoked and we are done.

Asked on December 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Connecticut

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The best way to answer your question is to carefully read your written lease with your former tenant in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to him or her by you and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If there is a state law stating that you cannot double rent, then that law takes precedent over any additional rent that you may receive concerning the two month's forfeiture. You have an obligation to mitigate any damages and to rent out the unit. If you rent out the unit for more than what the former tenant was paying during the time period of the two months, he or she gets the full amount back for such period. If less, then the former tenant gets a reduced portion of the rent back. The result is that you have a new renter and have not lost any money in the transaction.


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