What to fdo if my husband and I signed a 1 year lease 5 months ago but need to move out within the next month?

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What to fdo if my husband and I signed a 1 year lease 5 months ago but need to move out within the next month?

Our landlord failed to list a start or end date on our contract. However, there is a clause stating that 2 months rent would be owed as a penalty is the lease is broken early. Since there was no end date listed, are we legally obligated to pay the penalty? And can our credit be harmed if we choose to move and don’t pay the penalty?

Asked on December 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the lease states that it is a one-year lease, even if the start and end dates are not listed, a court would interpret that it is one year from the date of signing. Or if there is other documentation indicating clearly what the length of the lease should be (e.g. emails or other corresonpdence between landlord and tenant; a rental application), then a court would likely find the date from that and conclude it was just a technical oversight to not also include that information in the lease. Therefore, it is likely that this would be enforced as a one-year lease. If you leave early, you will be in breach of the lease which could harm your credit; you will also have to pay the penalty you describe.


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