If I had a roommate move out and a new one move in the same day, does the one that moved out still owe the landlord an “early termination fee”?

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If I had a roommate move out and a new one move in the same day, does the one that moved out still owe the landlord an “early termination fee”?

My landlord says that he wants the the roommate that moved out to pay the $200 early cancellation fee. He did not have to repaint re-list or spend any money in any way to find the new tenant and if we did not find one me and the other roommate would have covered the full rent till the end of our lease. Here is how it is written in our lease, “under this agreement, tenant 1, tenant 2, tenant 3, agree that terminating rental agreement before original expiration date will result in a $200 Early Cancellation Fee per tenant”. Seems like the landlord wants $200 for nothing.

Asked on January 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The landlord does not want something for nothing--he wants to enforce his clear rights under the lease, which is a contract, which your and your roommates voluntarily signed. From what you write, the lease provides that in the event of early termination, there is a $200 fee; the lease does not appear to say that the fee is waived if someone else moves in immediately. The landlord is entitled to enforce the plain terms of the lease.


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