Is the landlord allowed to withhold your last months rent if he allows you out of the lease early?

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Is the landlord allowed to withhold your last months rent if he allows you out of the lease early?

I moved out of an apartment due to health issues. The landlord gave us the security deposit back in full because nothing was wrong with the place but he is withholding our last months rent until someone else moves in. Is he allowed to do that if he gave us the security deposit back already and he let us out of the lease?

Asked on June 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no simple or general answer, because it depends entirely on the exact agreement and situation. A landlord is not required to let anyone out of a lease early. If  the landlord choose to do so, he may do so on whatever terms he or she agrees to, including retaining the last month's rent (and if the tenant doesn't like those terms, the solution is to not try to get out of the lease early). So in this case, it depends entirely on what you and the landlord mutually agreed to. If you and he have different recollections of an oral or verbal agreement--or different interpretations of a written agreement--and can't come to a reconcillation, you can go to court to try to get the money you believe you are entitled to; the court will look at the agreement and interpret it. Of course, for one month's rent, it may well *not* be worthwhile going to court.


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