Early lease termination offer

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Early lease termination offer

Hi, I signed an early lease termination with my landlord he signed also,
agreeing to pay one month of rent to break our rental lease seven months early.
We moved out, the apartment was renovated and advertised as available for
immediate rental.
However, due to a logistical mixup the one month rent payment from me to the
landlord never went through.
The landlord is now saying I owe seven months rent to cover the period from when
we moved out to the original expiration of the lease? Is that true?
There was no communication in the seven months following us vacating the
apartment, until we got a demand for all outstanding rent

Happy to provide more information if necessary. Thank you

Asked on May 23, 2019 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If you violated the terms of the agreement by not getting the money to the landlord--and it was your responsibility and obligation to make sure that he received it--you violated the early termination agreement. That agreement was a contract; if one party (you) violates it in a material, or important, way (such as by not paying, regardless of the reason why you did not pay), the other party (the landlord) can treat that agreement as terminated (i.e. does not have to follow it). In that case, you would be obligated to pay rent until the earlier of your lease expiring (e.g. 7 months) or until he re-rented the premises.
He in turn had the obligation to make reasonable efforts to re-rent; if he did not do so, he violated his duty to "mitigate"--or reduce/minimize--"damages" (his loss), and will only be able to  get rent for the reasonable period it should normally, with reasonable efforts, take to re-rent such an apartment or residence. Not that as long as he made reasonable efforts--e.g. listed it for rental with an agent--then he did his part; if he could not re-rent it despite trying, that would not be his fault and he could collect rent until the end of the lease.
That they did not provide you earlier notice that the payment did not go through or that you were in breach is irrelevant; he did not legally have to provide this.


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