Must I I refund rent regarding the cancellation of a lease?

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Must I I refund rent regarding the cancellation of a lease?

Traveling nurse placement service reserves my rental and forwards first month and deposit. On day of move in they cancelled and demanded that the money be returned. Do I have to return money?

Asked on April 1, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no right to a refund when the renter or lessee cancels the rental or lease--only if the landlord cancelled it would they be entitled to the money back (since you cannot refuse to or be unable to rent to them while keeping their money). When the tenant or those renting on behalf of the tenant cancel, they remain obligated for the rent for the full term of the lease or until the landlord can, through reasonable efforts, re-rent the premises, whichever comes sooner. In practice, since you can't re-rent instantly, that would be *at least* one month of rent (the first month). If you are holding more than one month rent, if they do not agree to let you have all the money to settle the case, you will have to make reasonable efforts to rerent; once, even with reasonable efforts, the place remains untenanted for longer than an amount of time equivalent to the money you are holding, you'd be entitled to keep it all--and if it remains unrented for a prolonged time, could even sue for more rent under the lease.
(And if you are holding, say, a total of two months rent but manage to rerent right away, so it is only empty for one month, you'd then be able to keep one months' rent but have to return the second.)


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