Abandonment of a Lease
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What Is Abandonment of a Lease?
Many states have laws in place stating that if a tenant leaves a rental premises for a specified period of time, and does not pay rent, the tenant is deemed to have abandoned the lease.
Many lease agreements also contain provisions stating that if rent is overdue for a certain period of time, or if the tenant leaves the premesis without telling the landlord for a specified period of time, the lease has been abandoned.
What Are the Consequenses of Abandoning a Leased Premesis?
If a tenant leaves a rental unit prior to the lease's expiration, all of the following may occur:
- Your landlord can terminate your lease and re-rent the property to someone else
- Your landlord can allow police or other authorities to search the property without violating any of your Constitutional rights
- In some jurisdictions, after a specified time period, your landlord can dispose of any personal property you left behind
- Your landlord can take you to court to recover unpaid rent for the time period that the premesis were vacant
What Are a Landlord's Remedies If a Tenant Abandons a Lease?
If a tenant abandons a leased premesis, the landlord can recover the rent owed to her by the tenant for the time period during which the premesis is vacant. However, in many states, the landlord has a duty to use reasonable efforts to re-rent the premesis to someone else, as to minimize his losses.
Should I Speak to a Lawyer?
Whether you are a landlord who is dealing with a tenant who has abandoned a lease, or a tenant who is being sued by your landlord for rent owed, you should speak to a lawyer familiar with landlord-tenant issues. A lawyer can help you to minimize your losses, and advise you on how to handle the situation. Laws on this issue can be complicated and vary from state to state.
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Last Modified: 01-29-2014 12:17 PM PST
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