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early termination penalty - VA

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xcrunner88

Guest
Arlington, VA. My lease states that if I terminate early, there is a penalty to migitate the damages of the landlord. The penalty is two months rent. (They already collected a non-refundable "move in fee", having abandoned the pretense that a "security deposit" is ever returned.)

This is a hot rental market. Most apartment buildings, good and bad, are filled, and have long waiting lists every month. Therefore, if Iwere to leave early (which I hope to do upon buying a house), the landlord is unlikely to suffer "damages" beyond the time lost to do normal things such as repainting before the next tenant moves in. (If I were to terminate the lease precisely at its end, the landlord would still have to spend the same amount of time painting and attending to "normal wear and tear.")

My question is, given this real estate market, is such a clause automatically enforceable? It should be easy for the landlord to move someone from the waiting list into my apartment within a week, meaning the landlord would suffer no damages at all. They may, in fact, be able to collect double rent for two months -- once from me as "damages", and again from the new tenant.
 


JETX

Senior Member
Q) "My question is, given this real estate market, is such a clause automatically enforceable?"
A) You should have challenged this clause BEFORE you signed the lease. By signing the lease with this clause in it, you have accepted it. And since it is not so 'onerous', it is very unlikely that any court would strike it.

"It should be easy for the landlord to move someone from the waiting list into my apartment within a week, meaning the landlord would suffer no damages at all. They may, in fact, be able to collect double rent for two months -- once from me as "damages", and again from the new tenant."
Ah, but you are mis-stating this clause.... which is worded as it is for a very specific purpose. This is NOT rent, nor is it 'damages'. This is simply a penalty for your breaching the lease. And since you agreed to pay it when you signed the lease...... you breach, you pay.
 

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