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Can my landlord charge me a fee for breaking my lease?

Los Angeles, CA |

I signed an 18 month lease in August 2012, and have given my landlord notice that I'll be moving out in six weeks. When I signed the lease, he said that if I needed to break it I would have to help find a new tenant. I have since advertised and shown the apartment and now my landlord says that he has to charge me $500 minimum to "change the lease".

Is he allowed to do this?

Attorney Answers 2

  1. Does your lease agreement provide a for a fee in case you break the lease?

  2. The landlord has obligation to make reasonable efforts to find an acceptable replacement tenant, but you remain responsible for the rent if no replacement tenant is found or the replacement tenant fails to pay.

    As a practical matter, the $500 may be well worth it, if the landlord releases you from further liability for rent and agrees to look only to the replacement tenant for rent. Otherwise, if the replacement tenant fails to pay, you still be responsible for paying the rent.

    Finally, if you do not wish to spend the money and are willing to remain responsible for the rent, you may wish to consider subletting to the new tenant for the balance of your lease, if your lease allows you to do so.

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