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Can my landlord keep the entire last month's rent if we leave mid-month on the last month of our lease?

Boston, MA |

My landlord and I have agreed to terminate our lease early. They are selling and we are moving out.

Our lease stated a 60-day notice which we gave. We previously paid the 1st and last month's rent. We paid the rent on the day of notice (60 days) and prepaid the last month's rent. We found a new apartment and we can move out on the 15th of the last month.

Can the landlord keep the overpayment of two week's rent? Are we due the overpayment?

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Your first step should be to review your lease agreement and any subsequent written agreements you may have entered with your landlord. Some landlords specifically include a clause regarding early move-outs and the tenant's obligation to pay all rent even in light of the fact that they have moved out a few days or weeks early. If such a provision exists in your lease that my give you a clue into your landlord's mindset on the issue. That said, you and your landlord have already to modify the lease by letting you leave early. I would say a partial refund of the rent is fair game and you should try to get their consent in writing letting them know that they'll gain possession of the unit early to clean it and make any modifications to it. If you haven't already done so, get your arrangement to terminate the lease early in writing. If you don't you could be on the hook for rent for the remainder of the term. Always memorialize your agreements with a landlord in writing no matter how casual or congenial the relationship. After all, we're talking about the roof over your head! One more thing, if your landlord took a security deposit from you, be sure it was handled properly and that you receive the return of it, or any portion you are legally entitled to, within 30 days of termination of the tenancy. If your landlord fails to fulfill this obligation, they could be on the hook for damages in an amount 3 times the security deposit plus reasonable attorney's fees and courts.

This "answer" is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.


Rent is typically due on a monthly basis, and it sounds as if that's the arrangements you had with your landlord. Pursuant to your agreement, your landlord is entitled to the payment of rent for the entire month. Although you are choosing to move out two weeks early, you would be entitled to possession of the property for the duration of the month or until the lease expires.

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.


It's not an overpayment. You leased the apartment for the entire month, and the landlord is entitled to be paid for the entire month. You can try approaching the landlord and asking if it would be more convenient for them to move out mid-month, to allow reconditioning the place, and work something out verbally for a return of part of the rent, but the landlord's not required to do this. If you do negotiate such a deal, get it in writing.


Best option is to approach the LL and offer to move out two weeks earlier than planned. If LL sees that as beneficial, LL may offer (or you might suggest) to pro rate the two weeks in question. LL is under no obligation to give it back though.

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As my colleagues mention, your landlord has the right to keep all of your last month's payment. Your best option is to see if you can find a replacement tenant (this may provide your landlord with some incentive to give you money back or to and then see if the last month from can be prorated from the day that you move out until the end of the month. If you cannot find a replacement, it is still worth trying to work something out with the landlord. If the landlord refuses, then you will need to pay the remaining 2 weeks on the old lease.

So that you do not need to pay for 2 places at once, I would then speak to your new landlord about starting the new lease on the 1st of the following month rather than the 15th which of the last month of your old lease.

The content of this answer should not be relied upon or used as a subsitute for consultation with professional advisors and it should be clearly understood that no attorney-client privilege has been created. A more complete answer and/or more accurate answer can only be provided in a more thorough examination of the facts in a consultation with my firm.

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