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Can a landlord hold $ 1800.00 after signing a lease for a year. But I did not even stay 7 days in the apt.

Marathon, FL |

I seen an ad in the paper. I went to rent an apartment, I thought that I would be staying at least a year, gave the landlord 1st and last rent $1800.00 in cash, but have a receipt can landlord keep all of money till apartment is rented

Attorney Answers 2


If you signed a lease, both you and the landlord are bound by the terms of the lease. Without reviewing the specific terms of the lease, it is not possible to say what terms you have agreed to regarding termination of the lease. You might even have agreed to a liquidated damages clause which allows the landlord to keep up to two months of rent.

Generally speaking, the fact that you changed your mind and no longer wish to reside in the apartment, does not alleviate your obligation to the terms of the lease. From what you describe, you are in breach of the agreement and the landlord is attempting to re-lease the apartment. Technically, the landlord is not required to re-lease the apartment and can stand by and hold you responsible for each months' rent as it becomes due. (This is not typical). If your landlord is able to re-lease it at the same or greater amount of rent that your lease requires, then he/she can only keep that amount that he/she did not receive in rent from you. When a landlord tries to re-lease, he/she is required to use the same efforts taken in your initial rental. I recommend you consult with a local attorney to review your lease agreement if you are in doubt of your rights and obligations.

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In most instances, a lease is a contract like any other contract and you are bound to its terms. That is, in some circumstances, you may be liable for the full amount of rent due and owing for the entire term (in your case one year) of the lease. By failing to adhere to your end of the bargain, you have breached your lease. Now, in some states, a landlord has a duty to make reasonable efforts to re-rent the apartment after your breach...but if he is unable to do so, you may find yourself being sued for the full amount of rent.

DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.

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