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Breaking Lease before having moved in

I have signed a lease for a property starting the end of July 2017. I have not moved in yet, obviously, but due to my job situation I need to move back to my home state of MD. I have given the landlord a safety deposit and told them that I cannot move into their house. The contract mentions nothing about breaking the lease prior to moving in. Can I get my safety deposit back?

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Submitted Mon, 06/26/2017 - 13:00

The only answer I can give is maybe. There is no right o break a lease, just because the term of the lease hasn't started yet. The fact that you have notified your landlord that you are breaking the lease obligates them to immediately mitigate the loss and try to re-rent the apartment. If they incur costs (such as broker's fees) to re-rent the apartment, or lose rent because they are able to re-rent it for less than you agreed to pay, then you are liable for those amounts, whether you moved in or not. A correctly taken security deposit can be used to pay for unpaid rent (but not broker's fees), and under the security law statute, if they took it correctly they don't have to return it until 30 days after the end of the tenancy (which is the lease term). However, if they didn't follow the law to the letter, you can demand it back now. There's really no way to know without a lot more detail.

Atty. David Owens
Grolman LLP

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