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***RESOLVED*** How can I terminate my lease early (only been here 3 weeks) ***RESOLVED***

franzcatch 2,652 May 21, 2011 at 05:54 PM
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My wife and I have been searching for a house and were not able to find one that suited our needs with a newborn, so we ended up renting a bigger apartment.

However, a house that is absolutely PERFECT for us just came on the market and we want to buy it. Our apartment is in Missouri, we have a 1-year lease, and we have only been here since May 7th, 2011.

I checked our lease and here is what it says verbatim:
Quote :
EARLY TERMINATION: If Tenant vacates premises prior to April 30, 2012, Tenant shall forfeit the security deposit as damages for early termination, and shall continue to pay rent until such time as the new tenant takes occupancy of the premises, or until lease expiration, whichever occurs first.
It is pretty plainly stated what is going to happen. We lose our deposit, and have to pay the rent until they find a new tenant. This is a huge chore since the renters market is pretty dry here and apartments are not being rented... we could potentially have this thing for the next 6 months to a year just looking for a renter. NOT GOOD.

However, I was wondering if Missouri law allows any way for us to get out of the lease since we have been here less than 1 month.

Googling on this has turned up diddly-squat so far and my lawyer doesn't answer his phone on the weekend Frown

Your help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks! Smilie

34 Comments

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#2
Find a sublessee yourself.
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#3
that's a tight clause there ... is there anything you were promised that could be grounds for termination? For example, 2 parking spots but there happens to be only 1 available for whatever reason?

You might do best to try and find someone take over the lease and then talk it over with the owner to get out of the security deposit forfeiture.
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L7: Teacher
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#4
Quote from flyers2391 View Post :
that's a tight clause there ... is there anything you were promised that could be grounds for termination? For example, 2 parking spots but there happens to be only 1 available for whatever reason?

You might do best to try and find someone take over the lease and then talk it over with the owner to get out of the security deposit forfeiture.
I don't know if any of this stuff would really qualify. Some is pretty picky, but here is my list of complaints.
-> The blinds are broken and haven't been fixed in all the time we have been here.
-> The blinds are completely filthy and don't work.
-> They promised to have the carpets professionally cleaned - and although it seems that this was done, the carpet is still noticeably filthy near the walls and doorways.
-> I had to have the place painted at my OWN expense.
-> The place was left in a completely unclean shape... I spent the first several days cleaning from top to bottom (especially the bathroom).
-> Almost none of the windows will open/close without the use of a hammer.
-> The basement has a NASTY leak that I can see they have tried to repair that leaves quite a smell. In the laundry area it is out of the way where I don't have to walk on it, but my storage unit is nearly unusable due to the damage the water would do because of how damp it is down there.
-> The linoleum in the kitchen is just nasty looking and old but they refuse to replace it. I offered to replace it myself since it is pretty cheap, but they said "No, but you can pay US to replace it"...
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#5
Quote from franzcatch View Post :
I don't know if any of this stuff would really qualify. Some is pretty picky, but here is my list of complaints.
-> The blinds are broken and haven't been fixed in all the time we have been here.
-> The blinds are completely filthy and don't work.
-> They promised to have the carpets professionally cleaned - and although it seems that this was done, the carpet is still noticeably filthy near the walls and doorways.
-> I had to have the place painted at my OWN expense.
-> The place was left in a completely unclean shape... I spent the first several days cleaning from top to bottom (especially the bathroom).
-> Almost none of the windows will open/close without the use of a hammer.
-> The basement has a NASTY leak that I can see they have tried to repair that leaves quite a smell. In the laundry area it is out of the way where I don't have to walk on it, but my storage unit is nearly unusable due to the damage the water would do because of how damp it is down there.
-> The linoleum in the kitchen is just nasty looking and old but they refuse to replace it. I offered to replace it myself since it is pretty cheap, but they said "No, but you can pay US to replace it"...
you signed a lease knowing these defects? Should have had this in writing or something whether the owner will replace it or not.

Also, are you sure you would be able to get that house? Each state has its own laws but maybe your lawyer will be able to help. For example, according to your statements it seems the house is in "uninhabitable" condition, which might be a good grounds for termination. So ask your lawyer when he picks up his phone on Monday (assuming he doesn't go to heaven by then laugh out loud).
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#6
Quote from daniel32 View Post :
you signed a lease knowing these defects? Should have had this in writing or something whether the owner will replace it or not.

Also, are you sure you would be able to get that house? Each state has its own laws but maybe your lawyer will be able to help. For example, according to your statements it seems the house is in "uninhabitable" condition, which might be a good grounds for termination. So ask your lawyer when he picks up his phone on Monday (assuming he doesn't go to heaven by then laugh out loud).
Well, all of that may "sound" worse than it really is. I highly doubt we have any chance at getting out of here based on it being uninhabitable. Was seeing if there was another way around.
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L7: Teacher
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#7
Found this... http://ago.mo.gov/publications/la...tenant.pdf
Doesn't contain the exact information I was seeking.

I did find a link to California law that states that landlords can only charge a maximum of 30 days of rent after notification has been given, even if it is an early termination. I wonder if Missouri has something similar???
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#8
Quote from franzcatch View Post :
However, a house that is absolutely PERFECT for us just came on the market and we want to buy it
If you fall in love with a house before you own it you will almost certainly pay too much for it. There have almost never been more houses on the market than now. Have you not been able to find multiple houses to compare and choose from?
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#9
Looking at the link you posted, it sounds like he may not be able to withhold the sec deposit for breaking the lease (terms that are against the law in a lease are unenforcable)...however, fighting that would be a hassle.

Look around for the actual landlord-tenant laws for your state, as many states limit how much you have to pay for breaking the lease early (usually one or two months, or until a tenant is found, whichever is earlier). Once you know how much the landlord can actually charge, you'll be better informed about whether you want to break the lease to buy the (or any) house.

On top of that, you won't be moving out tomorrow - even if your offer is accepted on the house, it's usually at least 30 days until closing...meaning you need a place to stay during those 30 days.



The only thing which sounds close to bad enough to break a lease is the leak - prime conditions for mold growth, etc - and even then, you usually have to ask the landlord to fix it first, etc. The others are inconvenient, sure, or maybe a bit gross by your standards, although I don't know that they qualify as uninhabitable. Most apartments won't hire a cleaning service between tenants, so some cleaning when moving in is expected (especially dependent on how OCD you are about cleanliness).


Depending on what you find out, it may be best to simply talk to the landlord about your situation. Is it a private owner or a whole management company?
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#10
How about you be accountable for the lease you signed and dont screw the landlord?
edit: "...dont TRY to screw the landlord" Your paying rent and you know it.
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#11
You make it sound like you are gonna put an offer on this house tomorrow and be moving in by the end of the week, lol. Shoulda stayed in the old apartment and paid month to month. Consider it an expensive life lesson learned.

And lol at moving in to such a crappy apartment. Did you not inspect the unit before you signed the lease? No way in hell I'd sign a lease with the place looking like that. Plenty of rental houses on the market, shoulda kept lookin dude. Again, consider it an expensive life lesson.

Lastly, no house is PERFECT. If you think it is, then you are obviously aren't looking closely enough or objectively enough. I foresee a thread from you a few months down the road "I bought the PERFECT house, but it has a termite/foundation/flooding problem, how can I get out of my mortgage?"
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#12
Talk with the landlord and see what it will take to let you out of the lease. Leases are enforeable in court. My guess is you'll be able to get out for 2-3 months rent. You may even be able to negotiate with the house you are buying to eat the amount you will have to pay to get out of your lease to reduce the price a little more. If they eat all or part, you can buy the house, if they don't, you can't.
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#13
You have a BABY and moved into a place that has water leaks, smells, and was dirty as hell? WTF??

Start pressing the office to fix the leaks, send certified request letters and keep track of your requests, if they dont do anything in a timely manner, then it gives you ammo to break the lease by using the state rental laws to protect you.

I live in a corporate-owned apt complex, and they have a 30-day no questions asked move-out if you dont like your apt. All you lose is the app fee. Of course, sounds like you picked a significantly sh1ttier place, so I kinda doubt they have anything like this. My complex also says you can sublease and pay rent until somebody moves in, or forfeit the security deposit and pay 2 months rent, and you're out of the lease.

If the rent market is tight, then try to sublease it yourself and possibly give a new renter some incentive. For example, a few hundred bucks for a few months to reduce his rent, $100 cash a month for 1 year, etc.
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#14
Just FYI, I never noticed the leaks prior to moving in. Also, there was someone living there when we viewed it and the management "promised" to clean it... which they did a little, but it was not nearly clean enough for my liking.

Anyway, I have spoken with management and I think we have come to a solution that will be mutually beneficial. All will be well documented of course.
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#15
OP,
Those reasons that you gave aren't valid reason to terminate a lease early. The only way for you to terminate your lease early is if the place is uninhabitable. For example, the leak in the basement is causing mold to grow and you're allergic to the mold. Or, the neighbors are drug dealers and cops are constantly being called to the complex.

Regarding your deposit, and this may vary from state to state, I don't think they can keep your deposit as an early termination fee AND continue collecting rent for the months the apartment is unrented. It's one or the other. In most cases, the complex will keep your deposit to pay for the unrented months and you would still be liable for those months until it's rented. However, management has to prove that it actively searched for new tenants.

They can't just stand idly by and collect the full term of the lease and do nothing to try to rent it out.
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