Author Topic: 3k to end lease 3 months before its due date. Can I be jailed for not paying?  (Read 2234 times)

Late_Bloomer

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I remember many moons ago it wasn't a big deal to get out of an apartment lease early. Doesn't seem like that nowadays. We're closing on a home and have three months left on our lease. Their conditions of breaking the lease are 60 day notice and 2 1/2 times monthly rent. That cost comes to 3.000.00. Our closing date is set for 16 days from today. Until this date was made official, we were unable to give notice. Therefore, we are only staying here until Dec 31st, which doesn't allow us to give 60 days. Weather we give 60 days or not, the money to break the lease is still owed. They just let you make payments if you give 60 days. If not, they require the full amount up front.

I understand fees for breaking a lease, but this seems excessive. It is upsetting because they will have the apt rented within a month of us leaving, netting them a 2,000.00 profit off of us. Can I be served with a summons, and subsequently be issued a warrant for our arrest if we leave and don't pay the fee? the lease contract stipulates the charges for breaking the lease but doesn't say what recourse they will take if we don't comply. Is not paying a dick move on my part?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2016, 11:42:45 AM by Late_Bloomer »

Spork

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Not a lawyer.  Not a real estate professional.  Not a landlord.

My very limited experience with breaking leases is that (at least in my case) the punitive charges had some verbiage on them to the effect of "*if* we can't lease the property within X days/months."  In other words, (again: at least in my case) if they re-rented it, the damages went away.  (Or they were lessened to something like "loss of deposit.).   YMMV.

jarredtipton

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Definitely a dick move on your part for not paying. You agreed to the lease terms when you signed the lease. How would you feel if you lived there 2 months and the apartment complex said "you can't live here anymore, we found someone that will pay more."It probably depends on where you are located on whether or not you could be jailed though. Where I live, you could really only be sued civilly though.

Catbert

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Not a lawyer.  Live in tenant friendly California rather than Texas.

No they can't jail you.  Here they could sue you in small claims court and likely get a judgment.  If you don't pay, they could ding your credit rating and maybe get your car to satisfy the judgment.  However, if you could show that they re-rented the unit for at least what you paid you liability for rent would end there. 

Always amazing to me as a landlord when tenants are amazed that I want them to follow the lease they signed.  If I tried to raise the rent part way through the lease, they would demand that I follow it.  Too late now, but I would have suggested that you talk to your landlord earlier in your buying process to see what could have been worked out.


doneby35

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You signed a lease. End of subject. It doesn't matter whether they will be able to find a new tenant in 1 day or 1 year. When someone breaks a promise to me, it pisses me off, and you breaking a lease will do the same to the landlord. You agreed to it, honor it.

cincystache

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Try to delay closing on the house another 60 days?

I wouldn't recommend breaking a lease. You signed it, you should honor it.

Not a lawyer but I'm pretty sure you couldn't go to jail for this. It will be a bigger headache than it's worth if you stiff them though. Just pay them what you owe, you don't want the stress and drama of legal proceedings.


JLee

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Have you talked to them about it yet?  I would see if they would be willing to let you keep paying your monthly rent until your lease ends or they have it rented to someone else, whichever occurs first.

If you're leaving 3 months early and the penalty is 2.5 months of rent, you might as well fulfill your lease and avoid a potential headache.  If it's allowed under your lease, you may also want to consider AirBNB or subletting it for the last 3 months.

spicykissa

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You should pay according to the terms of your lease. You agreed to it when you moved in. If you don't, it's absolutely a dick move. Whether or not you will go to jail is a low bar for dick moves. 

Depending on the demand, you could see if you can find a subleaser for the remaining 3 months. If the place is in that much demand that it will be re-rented as quickly as you say, it shouldn't be that hard to find someone who wants it temporarily.

I once also had to pay 3 months rent to break a lease to move for a job. I had paid a higher month-to-month rent for several months waiting for the job to come through, then finally renewed the lease because it looked like the job was a bust. Oops! The landlord made money off me, sure. But they weren't responsible for my life.

MrsDinero

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This was over 12 years ago but I broke a couple of leases (for various reasons, one for safety reasons) by writing a letter to  give notice of my intention to vacate the apartment on a certain day.  In the letter I requested they show the apartment as available to rent.  I also stated that I would continue to pay the rent as agreed upon until the lease was up (usually 3-4 months).  Because of the state law they are unable to collect rent on a place by 2 different tenants.   I noted the state law that prohibited this and asked when the place was rented they send my prorated rent check to my new address. 

  Usually I only ended up paying 1.5 months because there is more money for them to turn over the apartment.  I also always got my partial rent back. 

Check with your local laws but this worked for me.

Dicey

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Some good advice so far. First step is to contact the landlord to see if anything can be worked out amicably, and be super nice. Beyond that, you signed a lease, which is essentially a promise. What is your word worth to you?

Late_Bloomer

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I know it's a dick move. It's just upsetting that they refuse to work with us. This is one of those mega complexes with 100+ units. We tried to time the home closing as close to the end of the lease as we could. They don't allow "month to month" after initial first lease. I tried to reason with them about not being able to buy a house and move out at the exact time the lease was up. Their attitude was, "well you shouldn't of bought a house." We'll pay it and call it a day.

Dicey

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You might have the option of contacting the parent company and politely discussing the stonewalling you're getting at the local level. Can't hurt to try. I wouldn't want to pay it either, but walking away from a lease could bite you in the ass in ways you cannot and do not want to imagine far into the future. Bravo.

electriceagle

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Even if you can't be locked up, your landlord can sue you, get a judgement and put a lien on the house that you're buying.

Your mortgage company won't like the lien, and will likely pay it and charge both the cost and a fee to you.

Paul der Krake

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Dude. There are not enough prison cells in the country to house every person who skipped a month of rent at some point.

You should honor your engagement, but not because not doing so will land you behind bars.

lhamo

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Move a minimal amount of furniture over and sublet your new house for two months.  You can probably find people having renovations done or working short-term contracts, or relocating or something.  Just because you own the house doesn't mean you have to move into it immediately. 

We are likely facing a similar situation in the next few months and this is what I plan to do.

QueenV

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Is it cheaper to just pay the final 3 months rent rather than break the lease? That's what we did when we bought a house 3 months before our lease was up. Paying the rent was cheaper than paying to break the lease. Plus the house we bought needed a bunch of work, so we kept living in the apartment while fixing up the house. Then spent the last month moving everything over a little bit at a time. We were just moving across town though, that would be harder to do if the house is in a different city.

I'll be another person to say you signed a lease and agreed to the terms of the lease, period. The lease isn't in place only as long as it was convenient for you.  Sorry, I know it sucks to pay for two places, but in 5 years will you really still be thinking it? 4.5 years after buying my house I can tell you that I sure don't.

SnackDog

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Just slide the closing out, little by little, with plenty of excuses. Say you are having financing problems and need another 10 days,etc.  Many closings drag on for months.

Hey It's Me

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Sounds like it might be worth speaking to the landlord and seeing if you two can come up with a creative solution. Flex those bargaining skills! Be prepared to pay the fee, but work to come up with a solution that fits both of your needs.

GreenEggs

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Life is full of expensive lessons....

Sometimes you have to learn from them, and other times you'll be teaching them.