Can you get out of a lease renewal if it hasn’t yet started?

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Can you get out of a lease renewal if it hasn’t yet started?

I renewed my lease 2 months ago. However now I need to move and my landlord says that I cannot get out of it. I have 5 roommates and she says it is my responsibility to find someone to take over for me. Our lease is a single lease for 6 tenants. Is it true that I cannot get out of this lease even though leasing term has not started. My current lease ends in 2 months. I plan to stay until then and pay my current rent. My new lease does not start for 3 months.

Asked on May 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is not when the leasing term starts: it's when you signed the lease or renewal. From the moment you signed it, you are liable, even if the actual rental does not start for some time. If you do not find someone who can take over (either as an assignment--they effectively "step into your shoes" and become the tenant--or as a sublet from you while you stay on the lease; you'd then still be liable to the landlord, but at least you'll be paid in turn), the landlord can hold you responsible under the lease and seek rent from you. The landlord also has his/her own obligation to try to re-rent the premises, and once he/she does, you are no longer responsible; but until that happens, you will be liable under the lease you signed, for up to the full term of it.


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