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So I have 7 months left on my lease, and my lease says If I leave early I must pay every month of rent plus a $2,500 fee. But what if I just move out and continue to pay rent each month for the remainder of my lease and get my deposit back in a few months. Is that legal? The apartment would be empty and I won’t live there but I will pay rent each month and avoid the $2,500 fee by continuing to pay rent. Can someone tell me if I can do this or not. My lease does not say anything about it.

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    Where are you located? In some jurisdictions, the law requires the landlord to make a good faith effort to find a replacement tenant, and you are not liable for any rent once the new tenant moves in. – yoozer8 Mar 19 at 13:56
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    The $2,500 fee in addition to rent seems ridiculous, what state/province are you in? – Hart CO Mar 19 at 14:13
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    @HartCO It's not ridiculous if the rent is $2,500/month. – D Stanley Mar 19 at 15:03
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    @DStanley You think it's reasonable that someone should pay monthly rent for the duration of their lease, plus an additional month's rent if they choose to vacate early? I consider that ridiculous, it doesn't make sense to me that leaving should cost more than staying. Early vacancy with continued rent payment is typically ideal for a landlord, they get to prepare, show, and lease it with no unpaid vacancy. – Hart CO Mar 19 at 15:13
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    Leaving the apartment vacant could cause problems with the landlord's insurance. Also if there's a leak, break-in, etc. You could be liable for not informing the landlord in a timely manner. – mkennedy Mar 19 at 18:36
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Signing the lease and paying the rent entitles you to use of the space, but doesn't require your presence. Your lease may specify that you must occupy the unit and not leave it empty/abandoned, but you state that there is nothing like that in your lease. As long as nothing in your lease says you can't leave the apartment empty, and you don't mind paying the rent (in addition to whatever rent/mortgage you pay for your new place), then go ahead.

However, this is likely not optimal. In some jurisdictions (you don't mention where in the world you are), these terms would not be legal, or not practically enforceable. Some laws require the landlord to make an effort to find a replacement tenant, and you aren't liable for any rent once there is a new tenant. Considering the amount of money involved (the fee and the 7 months' rent), it's worth it to consult with a lawyer (local and familiar with rental/leasing law, not people on the internet) about your options for getting out of the obligations in the lease. If they can help, the money you save will likely more than cover their fee.

  • I am in CT, USA. – Matt P Mar 20 at 14:10

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