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I'm familiar with the idea of prorated rent but am in a situation that's new to me with a bit of a twist. In the past I've always been the one to set the move out date but this round our landlord set the move out date upon us which wound up being 2/14. When February rent came round I paid the prorated rent of $14/28*MonthlyRent that was due. However since as I vacated the unit 4 days early am I owed a credit for a retroactive adjustment to the prorated rent that was paid earlier? In other words on top of the remaining security deposit should I receive a credit of $4/28*MonthlyRent? I've never before contemplated a retroactive adjustment to prorated rent, is there such a thing?


background

In case it matters we've been on a yearly lease that started in the middle of February back when we originally moved in. That first move in rent was prorated. When coming up to this next year we found out the owner is moving back to their property and therefore didn't want to renew the lease. They gave generous advance notice to secure the next place, but we didn't want to sit around and ride out the full duration of the lease since they asked us to leave by the 14th.

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    Did anyone promise you to prorate rent to actual possession vs the lease terms? If not then why would you expect that?
    – littleadv
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 23:00

2 Answers 2

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Laws vary by region, but a duty to mitigate damages is common in contract law.

This means that if someone moves out 3 months into their lease, I can't just collect rent on an empty unit for 9 months. I would have to list the unit as available and make a reasonable effort to fill the unit. The tenant that vacated would still be bound by the lease and obligated to pay until such time as it was rented.

I doubt your lease contains language that would entitle you to a refund for the unused days, and moving out 4 days early is not much time to work with, so I doubt anyone would agree there was anything reasonable the landlord could do to mitigate your damage in this case. You didn't break the contract, you just opted to move out earlier than you were required to.

The fact that the owner was intending to re-occupy doesn't seem relevant unless they did occupy it prior to the 14th. It doesn't hurt to ask, but doubt it's worth pursuing further if they decline.

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  • yah I think my comment about the owner part didn't highlight that on our end we desired and intended to occupy the property for another year but ultimately that's not relevant either since a lease is a lease. I think a good lesson here is to ask for such language in advance whenever a party is being asked to vacate. It's a first for us, caught us very much by surprise. On another tangent, another lesson learned will be for us to ask the nature of the property and its relation to the owner. I'm thinking of questions like "has the owner ever lived at this address, how long ago, etc"
    – jxramos
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 4:59
  • It's tricky being on another person's timeline and trying to wind things down so everything lines up. It's too risky to not secure the next property far in advance and risk eviction proceedings or whatever, but if too far in advance then you're stuck paying on a lease that's of no benefit to you. There's also the competition involved with the application to the next lease where requesting a move in date past their available date to optimally line up with the old place's end date to lower the double rent may just demote the application's rank.
    – jxramos
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 5:14
  • Transitions are tough whether your renting or buying/selling because you typically need some overlapping time or a temporary place to stay. I would request a nice long notice requirement if the landlord does not intend to renew be in the lease and also ask them if they are planning on it being a rental for the long-term. Plans might change, but at least you have some idea of what to expect from a timeline perspective.
    – Hart CO
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 7:47
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If you had provided them with enough notice, you may have been able to negotiate leaving early. But the fact that you didn't tell them before making that last payment meant that they received no real benefit by you vacating early. When you vacated 4 days early did you also turn in your keys, and get the final inspection? If all that wasn't done the landlord received zero benefit.

The lease you signed gives you the right to occupy the place during the dates the lease is in force. The fact you didn't sleep there those last few days isn't important.

If they had wanted you out early, they would have had to negotiate a settlement because you would not have had access to the unit for the entire period.

I've never before contemplated a retroactive adjustment to prorated rent, is there such a thing?

This seems to say you didn't tell them in advance.

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  • I did turn in the keys my last day. I emailed in advance about a move out inspection but my language was too loose and imprecise and the property manager didn't pick up on that I was asking to schedule a pre move out inspection which seems to be one of the official terms for this subject and the language he used. That was my bad. This move was pretty involved so I didn't do things as diligently as I should trying to juggle work and move and arranging for help etc. You're right to pick up on it, I did not ask in advance about the credit for early move out--shoulda woulda coulda.
    – jxramos
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 4:46

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