Can a landlord take me to court and make me pay rent for all of the remianing months I breakmy lease?

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Can a landlord take me to court and make me pay rent for all of the remianing months I breakmy lease?

All that it says in my lease is that I don’t get my deposit back if I break the lease.

Asked on October 20, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract. Both parties are bound for the full term of the lease. That means that when you sign a lease, to commit to pay month from day 1 to the last day. If it's a 12 month (1 year) lease, for example, the moment you sign it, you are obligated to pay for all 12 months. If you break a lease before it's done, the landlord can apply your security deposit vs. the amount remaining that you owe and, if after that, you still owe more, could sue you. (For a small amount, it's probably not worth his while to do so; but legally, he could.) A landlord must make good faith efforts to rerent the premises; and once he rerents--IF he rerents it, which is not a given in this economy--he can no longer charge you rent. So say you break the lease after 6 months; in theory you owe for another 6 months; if the landlord rerents it after another 3 months, you'd only have to pay for the 3 months it was unoccupied.


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