If I moved out of my apartment 3 days after telling my landlord but now he is threatening to sue me and said it is a felony offense, is this true?

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If I moved out of my apartment 3 days after telling my landlord but now he is threatening to sue me and said it is a felony offense, is this true?

When I moved out I gave him a post-dated check that paid for the entire month, even though I was gone by the 3rd (because I am afraid of him). He lives right next door to the apartment and I do not feel safe being near him. I have been paid in full on all my rent, plus I let him keep my security deposit just so I didn’t have to endanger myself. Granted there were a couple of burns and snags in the carpet; I got an estimate of all the damage done and it cost less to fix then my security deposit. However, he keeps saying he wants cash. Can he really charge me with a federal offense because I postdated the check?

Asked on August 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You did not do anything wrong.  Your landlord does not know what he is talking about.  There isn't any felony.  There isn't any criminal case.  There is nothing wrong with a post-dated check.

If you did not give the required notice, you are liable for the rent for the balance of the term of your lease or until the place is re-rented.  If your lease is month-to-month, you would owe thirty days rent because a thirty day notice is required to terminate the tenancy.  If your lease is for a longer period of time, you remain liable for the rent for the balance of the term of your lease or until the place is re-rented.  When the place is re-rented, your obligation to pay rent ends.  The landlord cannot allow the place to remain vacant without making reasonable efforts to find another tenant.  If the landlord does not make reasonable efforts to find another tenant, the landlord's damages (the amount he claims you owe)will be reduced accordingly.  Reasonable efforts by a landlord to find another tenant will be determined by what other landlords in the area are doing to attract tenants; for example, posting a sign on the premises advertising the vacancy, advertising the vacancy in the newspaper, online, in a local rental guide, etc.

You could have also disputed the amount of your security deposit the landlord is keeping.


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