Sometimes, when the conditions are very bad, a tenant may feel the need to move out of their apartment before the lease is over. This article will explain to you some of the important aspects of abandonment, especially how a tenant can be held liable. Thus, in the very least, all tenants should understand the consequences for abandoning their rental unit:
- Landlord Must Notify Tenant In Writing Before Unit Is Deemed Abandoned: Before a landlord can deem a rental unit abandoned and terminate the lease, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing of his belief that the tenant has abandoned the property. The landlord must give the tenant 15 days to respond before he can deem a rental property abandoned, as well as specify any rent due and unpaid on the property.
- No Abandonment If Tenant Can Prove: At the time of the notice, the rent was not due and unpaid for 14 days, it was not reasonable for the landlord to believe the tenant had abandoned the property, the tenant gave written notice that he was not abandoning the property, and/or tenant paid to the landlord all or a portion of the rent owed within 14 days of the notice.
- Termination of Tenancy: Unless stated in the rental agreement, the lease ends when either the tenant breaches the agreement and abandons the property, or the landlord terminates the tenant’s right of possession because the tenant breached the lease. The first option is called abandonment.
- Tenant Liability: If a tenant abandons their unit, they can be liable for unpaid rent at the time of termination, rent that would have been earned between termination and time of the award, rent for the balance of the term after the award, and any other amount necessary to compensate the landlord.
Since 1995, attorney Eric Castelblanco has been dedicated to helping tenants understand and assert their rights. For more information about your rights, call 213-388-6004 or visit their website at: www.castelblanco.com. The information presented in this column is for educational purposes only. You should seek the advice of an attorney regarding your individual situation.