What to do if my landlordbreached a verbal agreement regarding my terminating my lease early?

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What to do if my landlordbreached a verbal agreement regarding my terminating my lease early?

My landlord agreed that I could move out early as long as it was not in the winter. I moved out 1 month early this summer. Gave over 1 month notice of the move. Landlord now keeping my deposit. I have video on how I left the duplex. Landlord repeatedly told me and wrote me what a good tenant I was. I needed to move due to financial reasons sue to medical conditions. Is there any recourse?

Asked on September 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You unfortunately just learned a very important lesson with regard to oral modifications of a written lease: they can be unenforceable.  You should have gotten the landlord to let you out of the lease in writing and given the notice in writing "as per your agreement" as well. The law on with holding security deposits differs from state to state.  Some states only allow for security to be with held by the landlord for damages above "ordinary wear and tear."  Some states, though, allow the landlord to with hold security for rent.  Missouri is one of those states.  So if the security was equal to a month's rent then the landlord can keep it if you breach the lease.  Seek consultation from a tenant's rights organization in your area.  Good luck.


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