What happens if a landlord cannot rent a premises after signing a lease?

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What happens if a landlord cannot rent a premises after signing a lease?

I signed a lease with renters an now can’t rent to them. Can I give them back there money and that’s that?

Asked on April 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the reason you can't rent to them is that it is now impossible for some reason beyond your control--e.g. premises damaged or destroyed by fire or storm; a zoning change or loss of a certificate of occupancy; etc.--then you can simply give them their money back. However, if the reason is withhin your control, such as you want to move your mother into the space, or want to sell the home and the buyer doesn't want tenants--then you would be in breach of the lease. In addition to returning the tenants' money, you may be also liable for other damages or costs. For example, say that you would rent it for $1,000, but to get a comparable space costs the tenants $1,300; they could sue you for the extra $300 a month that it takes to rent comparable space because of your breach. Over a year-long lease, that's an extra $3,600 they could potentially recover.


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