Can an apartment manager charge more for a termination fee than the amount of rent that would have been owed?

UPDATED: Feb 9, 2012

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Can an apartment manager charge more for a termination fee than the amount of rent that would have been owed?

I moved out of my apartment with one month left on the lease. I gave notice 60 days before the lease was up and 30 days before I moved out. I am being charged $1500 for the termination. My monthly lease rate was $552. Is this legal?

Asked on February 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

IF there was some clause or term in a written lease which you had (obviously) previously agreed to, which provided for a larger termination fee, that would be enforceable. But the key is it must have been in a written lease to which you agreed.

The apartment manager may not simply, without the support of a written lease, charge you *any* termination fee at all, let alone such a large one; he would be limited to 1) seeking any previously unpaid rent; 2) seeking rent for the balance of the lease term (i.e. after you move out); and 3) seeking the cost of any repairs necessitated by damage you did to the premises.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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