What can happen to a tenantif a lease is terminated early?

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What can happen to a tenantif a lease is terminated early?

My daughter is unable to meet her rent in VA and must move to AL for food and shelter. Her apartment complex requires a 60-day notice to break the lease, plus 2 months rent as penalty, as well as plus repayment of concessions with full amount due at the time the lease is terminated. We have tried to work with the apartment complex to set up a payment plan for the money owed, but they have told us that either we pay the entire amount up front or they will see us in court. What are our options? What happens if she abandons?

Asked on January 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Are those provisions of 60 days notice and two months rent included in the lease or is that something arbitrary that the landlord is now claiming?  If it is not part of the lease, you might be able to challenge it because the lease is a contract between landlord and tenant, and new arbitrary conditions not included in the lease would not be enforceable.  The same arguiment would apply to the concessions.   The type of tenancy your daughter has determines the notice requirement.  For example, if your daughter's tenancy is month-to-month, only 30 days written notice would be required to terminate the lease.

If a 60 day notice is required, then the two months rent to cover that period would be applicable. 

Your daughter would remain liable for rent during the requisite notice period.  For example, if the tenancy is month-to-month, 30 days written notice would be required to terminate the lease as mentioned above, but the one month's rent to cover the 30 days would also be required.

If your daughter abandons the premises, she would remain liable for the rent for the balance of the term.  In order to mitigate (minimize) damages, the landlord could not allow the rental to remain vacant for the balance of the term, but would have to make reasonable efforts to rent the apartment.  Once the apartment has been re-rented, your daughter's obligation to pay rent would end.  If the new tenant pays less rent than your daughter, your daughter would remain liable for the difference between her rent and the new tenant's rent for the balance of the term of your daughter's lease. 


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