Does my landlord owe me prorated rent if she rented my house to another party and gave possession to them before the end of my lease?

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Does my landlord owe me prorated rent if she rented my house to another party and gave possession to them before the end of my lease?

My wife and I recently vacated our leased property early due to the fact that we closed on our new home. We had prepaid the entire month of January and our landlord asked the we turn in the keys early so she could give possession to another party 10 days before the end of the month we had paid in full. She is now refusing to refund any prorated rent to us despite the fact that we did not have access for the final 10 days of our lease because she had given possession to another party. Is she required by law to refund any of our rent?

Asked on February 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If January was the last month of your lease term, or if you were a month-to-month tenant who had not given the requisite 30 days notices, then without some other agreement to the contrary (see below), the landlord does not need to return your pro rata share for unused January. That's because in those circumstances, you were legally obligated to pay for January anyway.

However, people may make new agreements. If--since you had possession through the end of January--you came to an agreement with your landlord to turn your keys in early in exchange for receiving back some pre-paid rent, that agreement would be enforceable. However, you would have had to come to that agreement before turning in your keys, not after the event.


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