Profile picture for jazmine1

Can I back out of a lease before moving in?

I cannot move in due to financial reason and I will have to stay at my old place. The lease starts in a couple of months. I have notified the landlord, but he said that's not his problem. What can I do?
  • April 07 2010 - Warwick
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Answers (7)

If your lease has not even begun yet, you should be able to withdraw with only the loss of your security deposit.  All of the terms of your lease agreement should be spelled out clearly in whatever you've signed, but these will vary from state to state.

While it is true that you are responsible for the terms of the lease, if you have yet to take possession of the property I believe that a judge would look at it much differently--keep that in mind!

Good luck!
  • April 08 2010
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Profile picture for sunnyview
The landlord has to try to re-rent, but if they can't re-rent you are responsible for rent until they find a qualified tenant. You need to put everything in writing and notify the landlord in writing that you do NOT plan to move in due to a change in circumstances. Return keys if you have them and get a receipt for them. Put in your letter that you expect that they will re-rent this unit in accordance with the law and they they will mitigate their damages by finding another tenant. Write that you are willing to place an ad in the newspaper or on craigslist to advertise the unit and that you expect them to return any deposits when the property is rented minus any re-rent expenses like advertising to find a new tenant. 

Most leases do not allow you to sublease, but you can read yours and see what it says. The landlord does have to make an effort to re-rent, but you need to be clear about giving your notice in writing and state the reasons you do not intend to occupy. That will save the landlord the trouble of evicting you and will shorten the timeline that they can use to get the place re-rented.
  • April 08 2010
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Profile picture for jazmine1
Thank you for replies. I was trying to understand what this means in the Rhode Island Housing law-
"If the tenant abandons the rental unit, the landlord must take certain steps to recover and re-rent the unit. The first thing the landlord must do is send a certified letter (return receipt requested) to the tenant's last known address stating a reply must be received in 7 days or the unit will be re-rented. If the notice is returned undelivered or the tenant fails to contact the landlord within 7days, the landlord can attempt to re-rent the unit for a reasonable rental amount. The former tenant will not be held responsible for rent for any time after re-rental. If the landlord fails to make an honest attempt to re-rent, or accepts the abandonment, the rental agreement ends as of the time the landlord has notice of the abandonment. "
  • April 08 2010
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
You are still responsible for the terms you signed in this legal document. 

The landlord does not have a legal obligation to search for a tenant.   Perhaps you can pay him some money to help him with advertising costs.

  • April 08 2010
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You might be liable for the months that the apartment sits empty while the landlord finds a new tenant. If it takes 12 months to rent the apartment, then you might be liable for all 12 months.

Because laws vary from state to state, follow the link below for advice about Rhode Island law. There is a number you can call for tenants rights services.

http://www.rils.org/housing_hotline.htm
  • April 08 2010
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Profile picture for jazmine1
I thought the landlord has a legal obligation to search for a tenant to minimize damages. Are you responsible for the entire one year rent?
  • April 08 2010
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If you've already signed a lease, you may be locked into the terms and conditions. You may look into sub-leasing it to someone else or finding a replacement that the landlord would approve of. He just wants it leased so by finding a suitable person to lease it, the landlord may let you get out of it.
  • April 07 2010
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