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  1. #1
    downey_renter is offline Junior Member
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    Breaking a one year lease with early termination fee - 30 days notice required?

    State: California

    Hi,

    I moved into a new apartment in Downey last May with a friend of mine. After a couple of months, I notice that my friend has been stealing from me. I asked her to move out and now I have to break my lease for safety reasons. I signed a one year lease (my friend luckily is just an occupant) and in the agreement there is a clause (clause no. 8 below) that if you cancel the agreement earlier, you have to pay the early termination fee of $1,500 plus any bonuses given to me upon sign-up (I was given a $200 move in bonus). I am willing to pay the $1,700 to get out of the lease and the apartment but the resident manager would charge me an extra 30 days to break the lease. I am moving out in July 20, since I already paid July's rent - I need to then pay an extra 20 days of rent to suffice the 30 days notice.

    In the agreement, there is nothing stated that I have to give a 30 day notice when I am breaking the lease. All it says is I have to pay the early termination fee. For me, it feels like they are double charging me. They kept on telling me that it is California law but I am insisting that nowhere in the agreement it states that I have to provide 30 days if cancelling the lease. Is it really California law? Need your help on clarification please. Again, I am willing to pay the $1,500 cancellation fee plus give back the $200 move in bonus they gave me but I feel it's too much to pay an extra 20 days of rent if I am not going to be there anyway.

    On a side note, I do see a 30 days notice required on the agreement only if the one year lease has expired and your agreement has been converted to a month to month which doesn't apply to my situation. (clause no. 20)

    Look into the link below for relevant clauses within my lease agreement (I can provide the full PDF agreement if you have an email):

    [url]http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/8283/clausesjc7.jpg[/url]
    Last edited by downey_renter; 07-18-2008 at 12:53 AM. Reason: added content
  2. #2
    wesawitbleed is offline Member
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    well from section 8(18?)

    ...due to a breach of any terms or condition by resident, then resident shall pay, in addition to all other rent and damages due, an early termination fee...

    from what you've posted and me trying to think like an LL, it seems they are allowing you to break free from any other obligation of rent so long as you give them 30 day paid notice, early termination fee, and bonus, along with deductions for repairs. so notice takes effect on july 20. if thats the case get it in writing and bless your stars. so think of it this way, if this is the case and you get it in writing(to cover your butt), you are not liable for rent past the 30th day. otherwise, they could just charge you rent until they diligently get the unit occupied.
  3. #3
    downey_renter is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesawitbleed View Post
    well from section 8(18?)

    ...due to a breach of any terms or condition by resident, then resident shall pay, in addition to all other rent and damages due, an early termination fee...

    from what you've posted and me trying to think like an LL, it seems they are allowing you to break free from any other obligation of rent so long as you give them 30 day paid notice, early termination fee, and bonus, along with deductions for repairs. so notice takes effect on july 20. if thats the case get it in writing and bless your stars. so think of it this way, if this is the case and you get it in writing(to cover your butt), you are not liable for rent past the 30th day. otherwise, they could just charge you rent until they diligently get the unit occupied.
    So it doesn't need to be written in the agreement that I need to provide a 30 day notice when breaking the lease? Is this automatic california law?
  4. #4
    johnd is offline Member
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    Well, I know of no "law" that requires the tenant to furnish a 30 day written notice of early termination...that is a LL thing. Notice or not, as previously stated, you are subject to all rents and fees due under the lease, subject to LL's duty to mitigate.
  5. #5
    wesawitbleed is offline Member
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    all i could find was a periodical rental needed the amount of time when rent is due to the following rental period... so it would be 30 days for a month to month tenant. theres nothing about fixed term leases so i would assume its up to the LL on how to handle recovering money when a tenant breaks the lease so long as it follows the law and the lease.

    one major question. besides the termination fee and bonus, is the LL allowing you to break the lease on good terms so long as you provide this 30 day paid notice? if so this is something i would encourage you to agree on. which it sounds pretty much legal for them to demand as they stated "all other rent and damages" in the section 8.

    otherwise if you fight it and do not agree the LL more than likely will come after you for unpaid rent until the unit is occupied. that could mean going to court and possibly having a judgment against you and hurting your future when it comes to renting. also LL would have a right to unpaid rent from your deposit. as well i did see your lease on another site, which they also basically said you are lucky for having a termination clause, if court is the direction the LL heads in and they prevail, you will be subject to at most $500 attorney fees as well as other monies that have been awarded to them. so think which one would work in your favor.

    [url]http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/real-estate-law/breaking-one-year-lease-early-termination-fee-30-days-notice-required-238708.html[/url]

    you're in a lease and you want to break it. the LL is allowed to claim unpaid rent for as long as the lease term ends or until the unit is occupied so long as she/he diligently looks to fill it. so..i may be rambling but if the 30 day notice is required by the LL to relinquish your obligation of future rent, then you are getting off easy in breaking your lease.
    Last edited by wesawitbleed; 07-19-2008 at 12:53 AM. Reason: link to another forum with OP's lease
  6. #6
    downey_renter is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesawitbleed View Post
    all i could find was a periodical rental needed the amount of time when rent is due to the following rental period... so it would be 30 days for a month to month tenant. theres nothing about fixed term leases so i would assume its up to the LL on how to handle recovering money when a tenant breaks the lease so long as it follows the law and the lease.

    one major question. besides the termination fee and bonus, is the LL allowing you to break the lease on good terms so long as you provide this 30 day paid notice? if so this is something i would encourage you to agree on. which it sounds pretty much legal for them to demand as they stated "all other rent and damages" in the section 8.

    otherwise if you fight it and do not agree the LL more than likely will come after you for unpaid rent until the unit is occupied. that could mean going to court and possibly having a judgment against you and hurting your future when it comes to renting. also LL would have a right to unpaid rent from your deposit. as well i did see your lease on another site, which they also basically said you are lucky for having a termination clause, if court is the direction the LL heads in and they prevail, you will be subject to at most $500 attorney fees as well as other monies that have been awarded to them. so think which one would work in your favor.

    [url]http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/real-estate-law/breaking-one-year-lease-early-termination-fee-30-days-notice-required-238708.html[/url]

    you're in a lease and you want to break it. the LL is allowed to claim unpaid rent for as long as the lease term ends or until the unit is occupied so long as she/he diligently looks to fill it. so..i may be rambling but if the 30 day notice is required by the LL to relinquish your obligation of future rent, then you are getting off easy in breaking your lease.
    Ok, that sounds good to me then. All the LL is asking for is the termination fee, the move in bonus back and the 30 day notice paid rent. They are not mentioning anything at all about me obligated to pay the rent until it is occupied. But everybody here seems to state that this is usually the case.

    When you said LL have the right to unpaid rent from my deposit, did you mean security deposit?
  7. #7
    CourtClerk is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnd View Post
    Well, I know of no "law" that requires the tenant to furnish a 30 day written notice of early termination...that is a LL thing.
    Actually, it's a CA law thing... because you know of no law, doesn't mean it doesn't exist:

    1946.1. (b) An owner of a residential dwelling giving notice pursuant to
    this section shall give notice at least 60 days prior to the proposed
    date of termination. A tenant giving notice pursuant to this section
    shall give notice for a period at least as long as the term of the
    periodic tenancy prior to the proposed date of termination.
  8. #8
    CA LL is offline Senior Member
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    Court clerk..that section of code applies to PERIODIC tenancies NOT fixed term leases.

    You agreed to the early termination fee so pay that.

    If nowhere in the rental agreement, even at the very end, does it state you need to give 30 days notice plus pay the fee then really you don't.

    Actually, IF CHALLENGED a penalty MIGHT be overturned in CA court as only actual liquidated damages are permitted to be charged (lost rent until re-rented, etc.). MOST courts that is.

    So up to you as I'm sure they will file w/collection if you don't pay all they say you owe and then you will need to dispute and go to court with them.

    Posting excerpts from a lease doesn't work...as often other clauses that apply are in different sections.
  9. #9
    johnd is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CA LL View Post
    Court clerk..that section of code applies to PERIODIC tenancies NOT fixed term leases.

    Thank you. I thought that was cleary inferred in my post. So, as I originally stated: I know of no statute allowing tenants an early termination of a fixed term tenancy (normally one year in my leases)...that provision, and the penalties/ramifications applied are invariably incorporated within a well-drafted lease.
    Last edited by johnd; 07-19-2008 at 07:27 PM.
  10. #10
    johnd is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by downey_renter View Post
    Ok, that sounds good to me then. All the LL is asking for is the termination fee, the move in bonus back and the 30 day notice paid rent. They are not mentioning anything at all about me obligated to pay the rent until it is occupied.
    Well, but as wesawitbleed asked: will the LL allow you to surrender ("sign off"), thus, disencumbering you from the remainder of the contractual obligations?

    This is the typical tenant precursor to problems: "they are not mentioning anything, so..." If the LL disallows surrender (but accepts any $ you are willing to pay him) you remain obligated to the terms in the lease.
  11. #11
    nusias9 is offline Member
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    If you are question if they are doing something illegal please look up your state tenant landlord act/law.
    Since it is an apartment community they must follow state law.
    Also if it does not mention a clause, it would still apply as it is in their lease agreement. It would not apply if it violates state law. Otherwise you are in a contract.

    Anyone reading this please go to my post as well.. I have a question about this topic in my renewal agreement I'm writing up for my current tenant... thanks

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