When can a landlord void a lease?

UPDATED: Sep 18, 2012

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When can a landlord void a lease?

I have a tenant who just signed a lease. He wasn’t supposed to move in until the first. He gave me a $850 deposit and $850 for next month’s rent. Now he says if I don’t replace the carpets, he’s moving out. It was no where agreed that I would do this. How much do I have to give him back and can I make him move out right now since the lease technically hasn’t started yet?

Asked on September 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can terminate the lease by mutual agreement--in that case, what you would give him back is what you and he agree to.

Note that you can hold him accountable to the lease: that is, you don't have to let him into the space until the 1st; or if he has moved in early, you can treat that as an amendment to the lease by mutual consent (you both agree to let him in early) and charge him the pro rata portion of the monthly rent for that portion of the month he was early. If he leaves if you don't replace the carpets, you can then treat him as in breach of of the lease--since there is no legal right for a tenant to terminate a lease without penalty because carpets were not replaced--and hold him accountable for rent for the entire term of the lease (or until you re-rent the space--whichever comes first) and apply his security deposit to the unpaid rent.

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