What happens if I don’t pay my rent and I’m in a lease with 8 months left on it?

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What happens if I don’t pay my rent and I’m in a lease with 8 months left on it?

Would I just get evicted and they keep my security deposit? Or am I responsible for the remainder of the lease?

Asked on December 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The latter. In other words, you would be responsible for the remiaing rent due under the lease (and can be sued in small claims court). That is, at least until the unit was re-rented. Otherwise, there really isn't much that you can do unless your lease gives you an out. For example, some leases allow for early termination if you are being transferred for your job or you lose your job. Also, most states allow military personal to break their leases early if they are being re-assigned. You need to review the terms of your lease.

Again, if you can't legally get out of your lease, you will be liable for all remaining payments. That having been said, you should be aware that landlords have a duty to "mitigate" their damages. This means that they must minimize their damages by re-leasing the premises. Consequently, if you end your lease early, your landlord has to advertise to try to find a new tenant. Once they do, you must be released from the remainder of thelease.

Possible you can assist your landlord in finding a new tenant (a friend or co-worker). Also, if your lease allows or your landlord will permit, you can try to sublet your rental. Under a sublet, you will still have to pay rent to your landlord but someone else will be paying you (you can more easily accomplish a sublet by renting to your sub-tenant for less than what you pay and then making up the difference; it's not the perfect solution but getting something from a sub-tenant is better than getting nothing).


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