Can the landlord keep my deposit if I break the lease before it is scheduled to start?

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Can the landlord keep my deposit if I break the lease before it is scheduled to start?

Lease is signed and starts in one day. I have not moved in at all.

Asked on April 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Whether you move in or not has no relevance whatsoever. Similarly, it doesn't matter if the lease has begun or not. All that matter is, did you sign a lease? Once you did, the landlord is obligated to rent you the space--and you are obligated to pay rent. Morever, you are obligated for the full period of time or term of the lease, so if you signed the common one-year lease, for example, you are obligated for all 12 months of rent. If you break the lease, then the landlord could sue you for all the rent you owe. The landlord may also keep your security deposit and apply it against the rent you owe under the lease--then, at his option, sue you for the remaining amounts due. A lease is a contract; once you signe it, you are obligated.


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