We had to break our lease in OK due to loss of job. Rather than re-renting landlord wants to sell and keep more than initially told. Is this legal?

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We had to break our lease in OK due to loss of job. Rather than re-renting landlord wants to sell and keep more than initially told. Is this legal?

My husband lost his job and we will be moving from OK to Iowa to live with family. We gave 30 days notice but our lease is not up until 11/30/09. We were told that we would get back our deposit as we’ve kept the house in excellent condition but we were responsible for rent until new renters were found. We were told this shouldn’t take long. We’ve paid until the end of July. Now the owner wants to sell the house keep all rent we’ve paid and half the deposit. Is this legal to do without even trying to find new renters?

Asked on June 5, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

It depends -- I take it this a single residential dwelling.  The landlord does have to mitigate his damages.  So, you are required to get within a certain amount of time (a very short amount of time) a detailed accounting of what happened with your security -- itemized for cleaning, repair, etc. Further, depending on your state and if liquidated damages are allowed, if any rent can be withheld for liquidated damages.

Further, you need to check to see if he is attempting to mitigate damages.  Just because he decides he wants to sell doesn't mean he doesn't have to mitigate his damages.

Sounds like he is taking advantage of you.  Soo, your best bet: contact your state attorney general's office.

If you feel you need more direct and quick action, try www.attorneypages.com and consult with a plaintiff's (tenant's) landlord tenant law attorney.  Check his or her record at the Oklahoma State Bar.


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