Can my landlord refuse to let me sublet and keep my deposit?

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Can my landlord refuse to let me sublet and keep my deposit?

I have graduated from school and am moving to another city. I have multiple issues with my landlord. They are forcing me to find them a new tenant for next year which is not my responsibility at all. My lease ends in 2 months and it says nothing about me being responsible for the next tenant. They are saying that I should have given them notice earlier so they could find someone, which I did, but I have no written evidence. I had told the landlord from the day I moved in that I am graduating and wont need the place for next year. They are threatening to keep my deposit if I don’t find a new tenant. Additionally, they are saying that unless I find a new tenant for next year’s lease I am not allowed to sublet my place for the remainder of my own lease. It’s a complicated situation and I feel like I am being bullied. I have just graduated and am unemployed so I can’t afford to not sublet the place and lose my deposit. I am also leaving town soon so I don’t know if I will be legally pursue this if they decide to keep my deposit.

Asked on June 3, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract--each party (landlord and tenant) has exactly and only those responsibilities and obligations and rights set forth in it. If the lease doesn't require you to find the next tenant, you don't have to. If it doesn't require more notice of nonrenewal than you provided, the landord can't now require it. If it doesn't prohibit you from subletting, you may sublet, etc. Review the lease: the landlord can't legally make you do anything not in the lease. If the landlord violates the lease, or keeps your deposit when it doesn't have legal grounds to do so (e.g. phsysical damage to the unit or unpaid rent), you can sue for the losses you suffered and/or the return of the deposit. Of course, if you are moving and the deposit is not too large, as a practical matter, you may choose to let the landlord have the deposit rather than bring a lawsuit--but that is your choice, based on the cost vs. benefit to you.


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