What to do if we cannot fulfill a lease contract?

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What to do if we cannot fulfill a lease contract?

My roommates and I signed a lease for a 3BR apartment. However, plans changed last minute and two of my roommates are moving out of state, making it impossible to live in the apartment. They are willing to pay a termination fee to end the contract early but the landlord is offering no option of cancelling the contract with a penalty fee and binding us to the full year worth of rent. We have tried looking for subleasers but it is too close to the start of the year that everyone already has a place to live. What can we do? Is it legal for leases to have no cancellation policy at all?

Asked on July 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

Terence Fenelon / Law Offices of Terence Fenelon

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a legally binding contract.  Usually, all parties have a joint liablility for performance under the contract.  I assume that you are referring to college housing.  You may be responsible for the term of the lease.

If you do vilate the lease by vacating, the landlord has a responsibilty to mitigate damage.  That means that he would have to take reasonable efforts to re-let the property.  You would be responsible for damges, which would include the rental for the period that the premisses was left vacant, costs of reletting (advertising, etc.) and the differential between the rent you were to pay and that which the landlord agrees to subsequent lease it for.  Attorneys fees may also be contemplated in the lease.


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