Is a lease renewal signed before the end of the current lease legally binding if the tenant vacates by the end of the current lease?

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Is a lease renewal signed before the end of the current lease legally binding if the tenant vacates by the end of the current lease?

The apartment complex requires you to sign a renewal 2 months before the end of the current lease. I signed it when they required but since then have discovered I am pregnant and need to move to a bigger place near family, which is out of state so I can’t just ask for a bigger apartment. The current lease term is up at the end of this month and they are telling me that because it’s already signed, I am legally responsible for another year’s rent. Is this legal?

Asked on November 23, 2011 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you have already signed a renewal of your lease before its current term ends and the landlord has signed it as well, you are bound to the terms of the renewal even though the term of the initial lease has not run. The renewal of the lease is a binding contract that you and the landlord have apparently signed and you and the landlord are bound to it.

Your options are to speak with the landlord about your situation to see if he or she would be willing to sign a written release as to you for the renewed lease where you would no longer be obligated for the new term. If he or she is unwilling, your other option would be to sublease out the unit to another tenant where you would be the landlord.


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