Q: Over the summer time, my husband and I broke the lease on our Chelsea condominium and moved to the suburbs. Our landlord informed us that we may solely get out of the lease if a alternative tenant have been discovered. We accomplished the walk-through, handed within the keys and have continued to pay lease each month whereas the owner appears for the alternative. However how do we all know if he discovered somebody? Is it potential that the condominium has been rented and we’re nonetheless paying lease?
A: For those who resolve to interrupt a lease in New York, your landlord should make an affordable effort to re-rent the condominium on the identical lease or the present market lease, whichever is decrease. If he takes these steps, you’ll be on the hook for the lease till he finds a brand new tenant. So how are you aware if the owner is even making an attempt to lease it? Look on websites like StreetEasy to see if it’s been listed.
For those who can’t discover the itemizing, do some sleuthing and name the leasing workplace. Ask if the condominium has been rented, and if it hasn’t, ask whether it is even listed for lease. If it’s not rented or in the marketplace — which is definitely potential, given how slow rentals are moving — you’d be free out of your duty.
If the condominium has been rented at a decrease lease, you’ll be answerable for the distinction. But when the owner hasn’t tried to discover a new tenant, then you aren’t obligated to pay the lease anymore. You may even sue the owner for the months that you just paid when the condominium was sitting idle.
No matter what you discover out, it’s possible you’ll need to cease paying lease now. “That can put extra strain in your landlord to re-rent the condominium,” mentioned Samuel J. Himmelstein, a Manhattan lawyer who represents tenants. “What strain is that this landlord underneath to re-rent if he’s getting lease from the previous tenant?”
The owner may sue you for the stability of the lease. However he must present that he made a good-faith effort to discover a new tenant. If he didn’t, you’d be launched out of your obligation and the case can be dismissed. If he did, you’ll negotiate a settlement in court docket, which is likely to be lower than what you owe now. So, you don’t have a lot to lose at this level by holding onto your cash.