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I have a landlord who said that I will need to pay another month's rent because I missed informing him of my move out date by 5 days. He wanted a 20 days notice, but I gave him 15 days. Therefore, he is making me pay for another month.

I understand where he is coming from, but I want to ask: What are the consequences if I just skip this payment? I don't plan on renting from him again.

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    What country/state are you renting in? – Hart CO Aug 28 '18 at 15:41
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    The wording in the lease regarding move-out notice (and associated penalties) would also be relevant. Likely whatever you agreed to in the lease is binding, but some leases overstep local laws. – Hart CO Aug 28 '18 at 16:03
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    I would offer to pay an additional 1/6 of one month's rent (5 days worth) and see if the landlord will accept it. It's the most mathematically fair outcome for all parties. – TTT Aug 28 '18 at 20:09
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    Giving a new move-out notice which is 20 days from NOW would probably be 15 days shorter than the extra month of rent. Just pay for the extra 5 days. – Beanluc Aug 28 '18 at 23:11
  • I live in Washington state. I talked to the landlord, and he said that he will lower the price on the last month by $100, because I've been a long time renter from him. However, I still don't feel like paying over $500. – bf109k4 Aug 30 '18 at 5:11
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In the USA:

If you have a contract stipulating 20 days notice, then your landlord can pursue you legally, which can damage your credit, assess late fees and fines, etc. I'd examine your contract thoroughly before deciding not to pay. The only caveat on this, as @HartCO pointed out, is if the section of your lease dealing with required notice period violates local laws, rendering it unenforceable.

Outside of the USA, it depends on the consumer protections (e.g. Some legal areas require that the landlord only assess additional rent for the 5 missed days, rather than the full month).

A contract is a contract in pretty much every country though. Barring extraneous circumstances, your contract informs you of what you agreed to by renting from this landlord.

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    In the US, laws vary by state. – Hart CO Aug 28 '18 at 15:57
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    Also consider that if you blow off the lease agreement and he pushes the last month to collections, then sends the claim to court (which they can do without you being served) then the default judgement is placed on your credit and there is no way to get it off unless you pay up or the judgement owner dies. Happened to my wife when we bought our house. I had to pay off a $1500 fee cause some room mate didn't give proper notice. Yes, interest can accumulate on these – Kai Qing Aug 28 '18 at 18:40
  • @PeteBecker noted, and I edited the answer to make that clearer – GOATNine Sep 6 '18 at 13:21
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Check your lease, which almost certainly lists a necessary notice period.

If you did provide adequate notice, you are unlikely to need to pay the additional month's rent ("unlikely" because I am not a lawyer).

If you did not provide adequate notice then you are likely required to pay something (maybe the full month's rent, maybe enough pro-rated rent to bring the "notice period" to 20 days, maybe something else). If you are required to pay something you don't really have the option of "skipping" the payment.

If you try to skip it the landlord has a variety of options which can compel you to pay, plus extra costs in time, money, and irritation for you. Some courses of action may have additional consequences for you, such as damaging your credit, or generating bad references if future landlords contact him.

It is common in the U.S. for renters to not pay their final month's rent and let the landlord keep an appropriate amount of their security deposit (provided that the numbers line up correctly, which they sometimes do). That's not really what security deposits are for, and if the landlord assesses damages to your unit which exceed your security deposit minus unpaid rent you may still have to pay additional money. And it's still you paying the amount besides. But if you have security deposit and try to skip out on the last month's rent, don't expect to see a dime of your deposit back.

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    Where I live (Michigan), you cannot forgo paying your last months rent and just have the landlord take it from your security deposit. Even if the deposit is more tha nenough, they WILL pursue you for unpaid rent, and more than likely assess fees and fines that will also eat your deposit. Plus this will leave your credit in shambles, and cause no end of headaches and irritations to get it sorted out. – GOATNine Aug 28 '18 at 18:50
  • The security deposit i gave the landlord was way less than the full month of rent. I think he offered me this because I've been renting another one of his places for the past 1.5 years. – bf109k4 Aug 30 '18 at 5:13
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What are the consequences if I just skip this payment?

There is a chance your landlord will pursue you through the courts, giving you months or years of angst. You may end up paying lots of additional costs. You may end up having a hard time getting loans if you have a record of defaulting on payments and court judgements against you.

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This is almost completely dependent upon the state you live in. In a landlord hostile state like NY or NJ, there isn't too much the landlord is able to do but take you to court. I know people are saying, "Check your lease," but I put unenforceable clauses in mine. So don't take that as the law. In my case, I take everyone to small claims court and I will win a judgement against you. It is good for 10 years and I will renew is for a total of 20 years. If you are young and every plan on purchasing a home and later selling that home, you will have to pay me my judgement plus a ton of interest before you can make that sale in most cases. And I won't cut you much of a break since you decided to screw me all those years ago. If on the other hand you are a loser and won't every own a home, then I guess you don't have too much to worry about. Except we also don't rent to people who screwed over other landlords. So it might be a bit more difficult to get a good place, especially now when rentals are not abundant.

  • " I put unenforceable clauses in mine" I sincerely hope these are paired with a fully enforceable severability clause – user662852 Sep 6 '18 at 14:37
  • My leases are solid. I put in questionable or unenforceable clauses to get tenets to behave the way I would like them. They can take me to court on them (which is absolutely remote at best) and I am prepared for the judge to say that isn't permissible. – user76763 Sep 7 '18 at 0:12

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