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  1. #1
    mvore is offline Junior Member
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    Breaking lease early (PA)

    What is the name of your state (Pennsylvania)?

    Hi all,
    I signed onto a 12 month lease as of November 1st, 2008 and want to move out early in order to take advantage of the first time homebuyer tax credit. I read the entire lease and it does not say anything about what the consequences are for breaking the lease. Can anyone shed some light on what should happen here? Should there be a 60 day notification, 1-2 month(s) penalty, etc?

    I consider myself to be a very fair person and contacted the landlord two weeks ago about this situation. I even offered to find an individual that will sign onto a new 12 month lease if she'd like. The landlord never replied to my email and has done a horrible job of communicating with me. Annother instance of the communication issue is when heat bill was over 1200 dollars for the past few months and I keep the heat at 63 degrees. I asked to see the furnace for my apartment in the basement in order to check the filter. They simply said it was clean, so I asked again stating that I wanted to check with my own eyes. They never responded to this request. Another example is when my refrigerator was not working properly- they asked me to describe the problem and I did. Then they told me the step by step process to making the repairs. This wasn't because they were out of town or anything, just so they didn't have to take the time to fix the fridge.

    Some other things they have neglected is the water damage I mentioned to the tiles on the shower walls, weekly cleaning of the hall/stairway (this is a privately owned 4 apartment building), shoveling snow off the sidewalk and driveway in the winter, and sanding/salting the steps and sidewalk. The lease clearly states that the Landlord is responsible for maintenace of the common facilities and roadways on their property.

    In short, they have not been performing their duties as requested/obligated. This bothers me seeing how I pay 1,150 dollars a month for an apartment in Pittsburgh. I'm not trying to use this as a reason for breaking the lease, but if they try to add on penalties for breaking the lease is it possible for me to somehow use this to my advantage? I really just want to break the lease with no additional consequences, but I want to be fair for how things are handled here. Please advise.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. #2
    HomeGuru is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvore View Post
    What is the name of your state (Pennsylvania)?

    Hi all,
    I signed onto a 12 month lease as of November 1st, 2008 and want to move out early in order to take advantage of the first time homebuyer tax credit. I read the entire lease and it does not say anything about what the consequences are for breaking the lease. Can anyone shed some light on what should happen here? Should there be a 60 day notification, 1-2 month(s) penalty, etc?

    I consider myself to be a very fair person and contacted the landlord two weeks ago about this situation. I even offered to find an individual that will sign onto a new 12 month lease if she'd like. The landlord never replied to my email and has done a horrible job of communicating with me. Annother instance of the communication issue is when heat bill was over 1200 dollars for the past few months and I keep the heat at 63 degrees. I asked to see the furnace for my apartment in the basement in order to check the filter. They simply said it was clean, so I asked again stating that I wanted to check with my own eyes. They never responded to this request. Another example is when my refrigerator was not working properly- they asked me to describe the problem and I did. Then they told me the step by step process to making the repairs. This wasn't because they were out of town or anything, just so they didn't have to take the time to fix the fridge.

    Some other things they have neglected is the water damage I mentioned to the tiles on the shower walls, weekly cleaning of the hall/stairway (this is a privately owned 4 apartment building), shoveling snow off the sidewalk and driveway in the winter, and sanding/salting the steps and sidewalk. The lease clearly states that the Landlord is responsible for maintenace of the common facilities and roadways on their property.

    In short, they have not been performing their duties as requested/obligated. This bothers me seeing how I pay 1,150 dollars a month for an apartment in Pittsburgh. I'm not trying to use this as a reason for breaking the lease, but if they try to add on penalties for breaking the lease is it possible for me to somehow use this to my advantage? I really just want to break the lease with no additional consequences, but I want to be fair for how things are handled here. Please advise.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    **A: then read the landlord tenant law regarding breaking a lease. You are responsible for the rent up to the term of the lease or until a replacement tenant is found, which ever occurs sooner.
  3. #3
    mvore is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HomeGuru View Post
    **A: then read the landlord tenant law regarding breaking a lease. You are responsible for the rent up to the term of the lease or until a replacement tenant is found, which ever occurs sooner.
    I already did and was unable to find the section that addresses such a situation. Maybe I'm not looking in the right place? Could someone post a link to the appropriate section of PA's website for Landlord/Tennant laws? Or even better, find the appropriate section that addresses this type of issue?

    Thanks!
  4. #4
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    You won't find any out outside of the landlord breaking the terms of the lease.
    So far, all you have is minor complaints which seem to be addressed, but not to your satisfaction.
  5. #5
    mvore is offline Junior Member
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    You're right, the complaints are minor. I shouldn't even have bothered mentioning them but what is done is done.

    However, I am trying to understand the consequences of breaking the lease with what most likely will be a 60 day notice.. Can anyone shed light on what the PA law is about this? I know PA has some uncommon laws in terms of Tenant rights. Maybe there is something about a 60 day notification being all that is needed if the lease doesn't say anything about what the consequences are if one breaks the lease? Maybe there is law for renters buying a home? Is there a maximum fee indicated by the state of PA for what a Landlord can charge me for breaking the lease?

    I have heard from people that all you have to do is give a 30 or 60 day notice in PA, but I prefer not to take their word for it. Could anyone at least guide me to a resource for the PA Tenant/Landlord laws?
  6. #6
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    Just google PA landlord tenant act.

    There is nothing that will help you break your lease.
    The penalty is that you will be responsible for the terms of the lease. Your LL however is to attempt to mitigate his damages by trying to rent the unit ASAP. There is little in the way of guarantee that he will be able to find a new renter. Basically, he will sue you for the rest of the rent.
  7. #7
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You are responsible for the rent until the end of the lease term, no matter how much notice you give. In PA, the landlord has no statutory duty to mitigate his damages either, so he could theoretically let the apartment sit empty until November and just collect your rent. Now if you found an acceptable tenant and the landlord refused to even take an application from him, a judge MIGHT not look so kindly on it, but you have no guaranty of that, you'd be taking your chances in court. If you haven't already committed to buying a house, you should just wait a few more months until your lease will be up.

    A 30 day notice refers to a month to month tenant, not one with a fixed term lease. You would have to give your 30 days notice prior to the end of the lease to move at that time; but he is not required to let you out of your lease before the end date.
  8. #8
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    In PA, the landlord has no statutory duty to mitigate his damages either

    Just checked. You are right! Not that you doubted yourself.
  9. #9
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    OP's lease may say 60 day notice is required. In that case the lease will prevail.
  10. #10
    mvore is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for your help! Guess I will just have to wait. Either that or keep on trying to get ahold of the landlord and work out an agreement on finding a new renter.
  11. #11
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    If your LL DOES agree to let you out of your lease early, make sure you GET IT IN WRITING before you make any moving plans!!!

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