8

I signed a lease for a year and my lease for my apartment ends on July 27, 2019. My rent for this apartment is already paid off fully because I paid in advance and utilities are included in the rent so I don't have anything to pay monthly since I paid ahead of time.

However I want to move into a new apartment in May of 2019 before my lease ends on July 27, 2019. Do you think I can do this since everything is already paid fully on my current apartment and just keep some of my things there as I move into my new one? So it would be like I have two apartments until the lease ends.

  • 8
    Does your lease say anything about how long you can leave the property vacant for? – Ganesh Sittampalam Dec 28 '18 at 10:44
  • 7
    The answer here depends tremendously on where you are located, who your landlord is, and what your lease says. Talk to your landlord and see if you have options. As a landlord, I've definitely let people out of leases early, but I've also made people pay rent on an empty apt. Many factors at play. – Daniel Kiracofe Dec 28 '18 at 14:47
  • Can I do this? : Move furniture, in or out, of any apartment you have leased: yes. If you live in a high rise talk to the doorman; there may be certain times or provisions so that you can use the elevators to move furniture. – Mazura Dec 30 '18 at 6:17
  • The only thing not in these answers is the time our tenants had such nice furniture we wanted to take pictures first; not your problem. Just keep it clean so they can show it. – Mazura Dec 30 '18 at 6:23
29

The biggest stumbling blocks to these types of questions are when people want a refund, or in the cases where they haven't paid in advance they want to avoid being responsible for the last few months rent payments.

As a former landlord there can still be things to consider.

If the unit will be empty until the end of the lease:

  • Don't let your renters insurance end because you are still responsible for the apartment until the final inspection.
  • Don't turn off the AC/heat completely. This is especially true for the heat in the winter, you don't want the pipes to burst.
  • Prepare the water system by turning off water to the toilet and if there is one turn off the water to the washing machine.
  • Adjust the temperature setting of the refrigerator, some even have a vacation setting. Defrost the freezer, turn off the water to the ice Maker/water dispenser.
  • Stop the mail delivery.
  • If this isn't an apartment/condo but is a townhouse or single family home and you have to mow the lawn make arrangements for that.

Tell the landlord. They may want to check on the unit while it is empty. If they want to show it, knowing that you will not be there makes it easy to schedule visits. Schedule the final walk through.

  • 11
    "Don't let your renters insurance end" in some jurisdictions renter's insurance only covers the renter's belongings - it is a lot cheaper for that reason. Unless your contract specifies you have it, consider if you can drop it. – J. Chris Compton Dec 28 '18 at 20:23
  • 12
    Telling the landlord the property will be vacant may help the OP financially. As a landlord, a significant reason for a lease is to improve cash-flow by both reducing how often new renters need to be obtained and decreasing the amount of time the property is unrented between different renters. As a landlord, if a renter told me the property was going to be vacant and they permitted me to both show the property and rent it to another party (both require explicit permission), I'd be quite wiling to refund at least the portion of the original lease for which I was able to obtain another renter. – Makyen Dec 28 '18 at 22:25
  • 2
    @J.ChrisCompton I wouldn't. It renter's insurance usually provides liability coverage, which can cover actions away from the house. Also, if covered damage is found at the final inspection, you now have an argument when it happened. Besides, its usually cheap enough to continue, it's around one fast-food meal per month where I am. – user71659 Dec 28 '18 at 22:43
  • 2
    If you disconnect the washer put the water hoses into the drain hole, the valves often leak! – trognanders Dec 28 '18 at 23:04
  • 4
    @Makyen you're obliged to, in every jurisdiction I'm aware of: you can't double-dip the previous tenant and current tenant for rent for the same space. After all, if the old tenant is paying, he has every right to use the facility, you can't possibly deny him, so he could walk back in and suddenly you have a problem. – Harper Dec 29 '18 at 20:17
25

Since you don't mention anything about getting a refund or anything similar I don't see what could be an issue with the scenario presented.

There is nothing to prohibit you from having 2 apartments (or any amount of property for that case) rented at the same time.

As mentioned in the comments depending on how your contract is worded you may be required to notify the landlord if you leave the property unattended for an extended period of time so I would check that out. While at that notifying your landlord you won't be renewing your lease after its expiration, would also be a nice gesture.

  • 11
    Worth adding a note about potential clauses in the contract regarding leaving the property unattended. – Notts90 Dec 28 '18 at 20:42
  • 1
    @Notts90 i think in our contract (US) its says something like "notify landlord if you going to leave for more than X days" – Oct18 is day of silence on SE Dec 29 '18 at 16:50
5

I'm doing this right now. (My lease ends in a couple of months, but I have already gotten a new place.) I usually overlap by a couple of weeks, just because I don't like rushing to move.

So yes, I can verify firsthand that it is possible. You'll be paying a little under twice as much in living expenses during that time, but if that's not a financial problem, then it's not a problem at all.

The one legal issue you're likely to run into is that both leases will probably mention that you are not to abandon the residence. That sounds like a bigger deal than it is, though. It just means don't leave the place unattended for weeks on end. If you show up every couple of days to grab some stuff, make sure the place hasn't fallen apart, etc, then you should be fine.

Also note, both leases will probably stipulate that you need utilities, renters insurance, etc. It will basically be as if you lived at both places. Most if not all of the companies involved already have ways to accommodate this.

  • 1
    Generally, the only consequence of abandoning the property is that the landlord can terminate the lease, which in the OP's cases presumably would be beneficial (since they would then be due a refund), – Acccumulation Dec 28 '18 at 17:27
  • 1
    @Acccumulation: Not necessarily. The point of a lease is that the renter agrees to rent for a certain amount of time. Usually the renter is responsible for rent until the lease ends, or until the landlord has rented the place to someone else, whichever comes first. – cHao Dec 28 '18 at 17:40
  • 1
    @cHao Since it's the landlord's option to terminate the lease, he presumably wouldn't do it if he didn't have a new tenant. – Barmar Dec 28 '18 at 17:47
  • 1
    @cHao "Not necessarily" what? If you're disputing my claim that "generally, the only consequence of abandoning the property is that the landlord can terminate the lease", then what other consequence are you asserting? Or are you saying that it is likely that the lease allows the lease to be terminated without given a refund? – Acccumulation Dec 28 '18 at 17:57
  • 1
    @Acccumulation: The latter. Even if the lease itself doesn't specify such consequences, the less-than-two months remaining would suggest as much. Don't expect a refund. – cHao Dec 28 '18 at 20:35
2

By the law, you are committed to the lease; prepaying has nothing to do with that. So yeah, you can store stuff in there, or perhaps investigate doing AirBnB.

I assume you'd rather have the money back, though.

You are allowed to "break the lease" by mutual consent with the landlord, because both of you are allowed to agree to change the terms. This is done all the time. The landlord "moves up" his efforts to find another tenant, and once the new tenant starts paying and moves in, you are off the hook - the lease is broken.

Normally, you have not prepaid the rent, and the landlord will naturally not want to bother finding a new tenant, and just keep dunning you for the rent. In this case there is a legal concept called "mitigation of damages". When you are in a contract and suffering financial loss, you must do what is reasonable to prevent that loss, you can't just sit on your hands and make the other party eat the loss. Breaking a residential lease is the most commonly used example of this legal principle. So the landlord can't get a court judgment for back rent owed*, unless he can prove he really did try to find a new tenant, and all were unfit.

However, since you prepaid, that is a new wrinkle. He's not the injured party: does he still have the duty to mitigate when it's not his loss? I simply don't know what the law will say about that. I do know it'll be prohibitively expensive to find out, unless you can keep the matter in small claims court. On the other hand, the landlord doesn't know how that’ll go, either, taking it to big court is mutually assured destruction.

So practically, you are at the mercy of the landlord, and your best bet is to ask, cajole or threaten him to mitigate damages by finding a new tenant, and refund your unused rent once he has done so. It's fair for him to charge you some costs, which you can mitigate by helping promote the unit. As soon as he puts up a listing, buzz it on social media etc.

Don't be shocked if he is unable to mitigate all the damages, due to tenants that don't pay etc. Landlording is a tougher business than most tenants realize.


Refs: reply #4 here, landlord's legal advice was he was obliged to seek a new tenant to relieve the departing tenant of obligation. Another landlord advised the same.

  • 1
    At least in England and Wales, "mitigation of damages" does not apply to rent. Rent is not damages, it is a debt owed under the terms of the contract. (This argument was first produced in uk.legal.moderated by a barrister who specializes in leases, so I'd like to see some clear arguments why it is wrong, rather than just "it obviously is"). – Martin Bonner Dec 29 '18 at 18:52
  • @Harper Which law? Where? – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 29 '18 at 19:35
  • @MartinBonner My answers apply only to context of OP, who is a residential renter. On this forum post #4 legal advice was he had an obligation to seek new tenants. I will follow with more, but I can't search for them in the other window or this window redraws and erases my work. – Harper Dec 29 '18 at 19:54
  • @Harper Your answer begins with the phrase "by the law". What law? What country's law? Or is there some relevant global treaty I'm not aware of? – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 29 '18 at 20:03
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit ah, we are on the same page then. I refer to the law that grants contracts the force of law. Locality, most places. I dread pedantry so I apologize for engaging in it. The functional meat is obviously in the contract. – Harper Dec 29 '18 at 20:06
1

Yes, you can rent as many apartments as you like. Simple question, simple answer. I don't know why we're trying to make it so complicated?

  • That was clearly not obvious to the OP, and others have pointed out that there may be terms in the lease which require you to occupy the property you have rented - and there is a practical limit to how many properties you can occupy. – Martin Bonner Jan 1 at 10:23
-1

This is a common issue in the US for Australians on an E-3 Visa. We need to depart the country on short notice when the job ends and this will involve breaking a lease. The contract is important, as is your duty of care to the landlord. You need to pay out the notice period at least, and arrange for an inspection the day you leave.

I don't know, but there may be a provision where you are responsible for the "letting fee" that the landlord may have to pay to an agent. If you have to clean there is that too. Despite the conflict of interest it is often easy just to get the agent to handle everything, just make sure to get a final statement and reports.

Overpayments and any security bond should come back to you. You will have to pay something to get out early, but you should get 4-6 weeks back plus security.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.