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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all, my gf and I signed a one year lease in Rhode Island.  We paid one month's rent and the security deposit (equal to one month's rent).  Upon moving in, we realized our landlord was very strict and we knew for sure we wouldn't be comfortable living in her unit.  Keep in mind she lives next door half the year.  Anyway, here are a few issues we've dealt with
 - She states we can't smoke on the property (even outside on our patio), although there is nowhere on the lease that prohibits smoking. 
-  She wouldn't let the cable guy drill a hole in the wall to wire cable upstairs
-  We can't use lawn chairs on the lawn... she takes great care of the lawn, but when we viewed the place, we assumed we could use the lawn and have cookouts etc... apparently not!

Anyway, we had a meeting with the realtor and landlord and stated we were unhappy.  We really stressed the fact that we can't smoke on the property, even though it's not on the lease.  The LL then said it was because of her allergies and whatnot, but if it was that important to her, then she should have stated it on the lease.

RELEASE - Today, I received an email from the realtor and it basically states we can leave on or before June 30th as long as we forfeit our 1,150 deposit.  It states that if somebody can move in earlier than the month end, we have to leave.  I don't mind leaving a bit early, but why should I give up my whole deposit?  That's only supposed to cover damages and/or charges against the LL for us breaking ordinances.  I feel we paid her the full rent for June - we should be able to leave as long as a tenant is found this month as a replacement.  Thanks for reading and thanks for the help!


Posts: 3,817
Reply with quote  #2 
The LL is free to make rules for the property that affect health & safety.  Smoking is a health rule.  She can prohibit smoking.  Likewise, she can insist that no holes be drilled (all of our leases have large fines in them for drilling any holes in the property).  She is allowed to protect her property from damage. 

If you didn't ask about using the lawn or having cookouts when you viewed the property, you should have no expectations that you could do so in a common, or her, area.  Did your lease say the yard was yours?  If so, you can use it in a reasonable manner (Lawn furniture is reasonable).

Chances are slim that a replacement tenant will be found within a month, so rent will be lost.  Additionally, there are costs associated with finding that replacement tenant that the LL would not have if you were not moving out prior to lease end.  There are advertising costs, showings (time and gas), printing costs for applications, screening applications, background and credit check fees, phone calls to employers/landlords/references, etc.  A lot of time and effort is involved to find suitable tenants.  You are responsible for all these costs plus any lost rent.  You can pay the actual costs for these things, stay in the unit until your lease ends, or give up your deposit to pay them as liquidated (monetary) damages.  Let's consider the actual costs.  If the tenant is not found by July 1st, the rent alone for July will use up the deposit  (If a tenant moved in and paid prior to the end of July, rent would be prorated back to you).  Then consider the advertising costs, the hours of taking phone calls, the hours for scheduled showings, the hours and costs to screen the applications, the hours of calls to track down references and landlords.  This time may not be free.  And if a LL hires a PM company or agent to find a good tenant for him, you would be responsible for that cost as well (PM companies charge 1/2 to 1 month of rent as a fee to find suitable tenants).  Cpsts can add up.

Typically, out of all calls on a nice unit, 2/3 will set up appointments to see it.  Half will actually show for those appontments.  One third of those will qualify.  So only 15-20% of all callers qualify for the unit.  And not all of those will want the unit for one reason or another (room size, location, rent price, paint color, etc.)  This is why the email asks if you want to forfeit the deposit.  If you do, get a signed release so you can't be held liable for any other costs. 


Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you for the information you provided the disgruntled tenants.  
I have a situation with my tenants breaking the lease due to illness.  We were given 12 days notice.
I feel horrible that the family is going through this distress, however I should not have to bear the burden as well.
The decision was made to give them their last months rent and keep the security for loss of rent and expenses that will be incurred trying to find suitable tenants.  Their lease started the middle of the month, again to aid them.  initially they were had to move from their last residence because it was a bad neighborhood.  The previous landlord, whom I know, substantiated that.
     Am I doing the right thing?
Thanks for your reply..  Miki
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