March 18, 2019 at 1:32 pm #4137
I made a really stupid mistake. I recently graduated, and wanted to leave my college town and go onto a better place. I regret the decision, and now I am trying to salvage the situation.
I broke the lease on my apartment. I lived in a 3 bedroom alone because all my roommates moved out (they weren’t on the lease, and the landlords were very lenient about that). I told the landlord that I will be leaving at the end of march, giving them a 30 day notice. They instructed me to write a notice to vacate, which I did in the office on a blank sheet of paper. I didn’t take it too seriously, and wrote what they suggested, basically saying that I plan on leaving at the end of march and that I forfeit my deposit. They said I had to pay a fee for breaking the lease, which I assume is the remaining balance on the lease. I assumed at the time that my deposit would cover this, but now I realize this is wrong.
I then left town (Ruston Louisiana) for a week to celebrate my graduation. Upon returning to town, I realized I didn’t have the finances to break the lease and move out of state yet. The lease was until the end of May, and I was hoping to stay the additional 3 months. I talked to the landlord, and they told me that they already put the apartment on the market, and received an application. They said if the application is revoked, I am free to stay at the apartment for the remainder of the lease.
Now my trouble is that I will be without an apartment at the end of march, and that I will have to pay the remainder of the rent for an apartment I can no longer live at.
My question is 1: Am I obligated to pay the remainder of the leases rent if they found a new tenant to take over before may.
2: Could my notice to vacate be rendered invalid if done incorrectly? As I said I was instructed to write this memo out on a blank sheet of paper. It was pretty bare bones, and may be missing some information (like the name and address of the apartment complex, and the date.)
3: what kind of legal action can they pursue if I do not pay the fees associated with the lease?
I would be happy to respond to any questions asked.
April 2, 2019 at 2:04 pm #4139
Unfortunately, the issue of them finding another tenant goes towards mitigation. That is, if they sue you for breaking the lease (or more likely turn you over to a collection agency) then you can bring up the mitigation issue. That may or may not work based on several other factors. Mitigation is a general “equity” argument that it would not be fair to let the landlord benefit from this situation by getting the lease paid twice.
The point is, nothing is automatic here and if it gets to the point of collection or court, your credit may be toast.
My best suggestion is that you contact the Bar Association for your locality (not sure about Ruston), but most can refer you to a lawyer that will advise you personally at a reduced rate. Maybe that way you could weigh your options.
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