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I am an international student from India. I am studying in Saint Louis in the USA.

In the summer of 2019 I went back to India giving my room for a sublet. I know the person who was taking temporary sublease and I also left some of my stuff with his permission. I got permission in my email from the manager at that time and the temporary renter signed the 3 months sublease. They asked me to submit my keys.

Back in India, I got an email when I was about to come back that they cancelled my existing lease because I gave my room for sublet unethically (the manager who gave me email approval quit the job) and they said that they are cancelling my existing lease. They forced me to sign a new lease at a high rate (100 USD more per month till 2020 July). They forced me saying that they won't give me the key back and won’t take care of my stuff. This was said that over the phone. When I emailed them regarding my stuff I kept in my room they didn’t reply.

When I signed the lease I had no idea where to stay in Saint Louis and have my stuff back. I raised a voice after coming there, but I think the apartment owner is a big party and it has a managing group. All the people told me to with the new signed lease as I have signed it anyhow and the tenants law in Saint Louis is in favor of owners.

I told them to make the lease of short term till 2020 May and they agreed to do that. Now when I signed the lease and submitted it then they are not signing it.

Can I break the lease after May giving them email notification? I have also raised the concern to them but they are not replying back. In this pandemic situation, it won’t be possible for me to bear rents of two more months.

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It appears that you have successfully sublet your place to another tenant, but now the landlord is giving you problems.

Based on the information, you are still bound by the original lease:

  • You sublet the premises but you did so with the landlord (or their managing agent's) express permission. You have fulfilled your obligations so there should be no problem.
  • The landlord not providing the key is likely breaching a term of the lease for which you can claim damages.
  • The landlord appears to have forced you to sign a new lease under duress at a higher rate.
  • The terms of breaking the lease would be in the lease agreement, but it doesn't should like your landlord has been honorable.

I would talk to a an attorney in Missouri specializing in landlord/tenant law. They may find a way for you to break your lease or call the landlord to arrange a settlement. Shop around and find one who is experienced and effective and also good value.

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  • How much does an attorney charge? If it is like 1000 USD then it will cost me the same. Moreover, because of the current situation I am staying with my friend who is a student in Pittsburgh and I am also moving to UPitt this year. As far as I guess the offices will be closed these days. Should I stop paying rents and face them if they charge me anything extra later when the things will settle down? Can I have lawyers in Pittsburgh to deal with these cases? – Ri-Li Apr 30 '20 at 4:44
  • It could be as low as a couple of hundred. I use upcounsel.com. You would have to have an attorney licensed in Missouri (each state has different law), and you're more likely to find one in Missouri.. – xirt Apr 30 '20 at 4:46

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