How much money is reasonable to ask if a landlord wants to break a lease early?

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How much money is reasonable to ask if a landlord wants to break a lease early?

I currently have a 1-year lease to a house I’m living in. The owner of the house lives out of state and is represented on my lease by a property manager/realtor. The property manager has asked me if I’d be interested to accept a $1000 incentive to break the lease early. It seems the owner wants to move back and into the house before my lease ends. Is the offer of $1000 reasonable since the property manager has offered to help me find another house to live in via lease? I don’t have too much furniture, just a queen bed, kitchen set and other chair plus belongings.

Asked on August 17, 2011 Rhode Island

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is no right or wrong answer--it depends entirely on what's worth it to you. You have the upper hand in that you have a lease--they need your agreement to move out early. That means that while you probably don't want to be piggish--if you ask for too much, you may get nothing--you can make sure the deal works for  you. Here are some things to think about:

1) Make any agreement contingnent on *you* finding (with the manager's help) a new rental that *you* find acceptable--you don't want to be forced out, even with $1,000 in hand, and have no place decent to live.

2) Think about what your moving, etc. costs will be--they'll effectively come out of your $1,000. How much are you looking for *after* those costs?

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You are in the best position here but it appears that you are a very reasonable person and not out to gauge anyone.  That is commendable.  I am a bit unclear though on what you mean by helping you find another house via lease.  Are they going to have you  sign a lease for a different property that they own?  You way want to consider doing the following: getting a written estimate for a mover: licensed and insured.  Finding a place before hand and seeing if there are any additional fees for renting the new place: brokers or what ever.  Then present these fees to the manager and as for a bit more for you.  Remember: your time spent looking for a new place, packing and unpacking and painting the new place or what ever  is worth something as well.  Good luck. 


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