Is it legal to ask a tenant to sign a confession of judgement for the amount of what is left in the lease because they want to break it early?

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Is it legal to ask a tenant to sign a confession of judgement for the amount of what is left in the lease because they want to break it early?

I work for a property owner who has 100 rentals. Our leases are a year. Originally I was hired to perform showing/leasing activities. Increasingly I am being required to perform many legal duties and honestly I have limited knowledge of the law and owner has limited regard for it really.

Asked on March 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The confession of judgment that you are writing about and that you have been asked to perform for your employer is not illegal per se to create. What could be improper is what may be stated in the document since you have not written what you have placed in the ones you have created.

In essence the confession of judgment is a document that a tenant who wishes to break his or her lease early agrees that so much is owed to the landlord under the written lease. However, the landlord is still under an obligation to rent out the unit being vacated early to another tenant and if another tenant comes in during the balance of the lease of the prior tenant, the damages owed by the prior tenant would be reduced by what the new tenant is paying for the same unit. I suggest that you consult further with a landlord tenant attorney concerning what is placed in the confession of judgment by you to make sure it is allowed.


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