I'm moving to Canada on March 28 and my current lease in Illinois ends June 30.

I let them know far in advance that the property would be vacant and the landlord has decided to sell the property so they will be staging the house after I leave.

I'm on the hook for the rent, insurance and utilities until June 28, but that is a considerable expense. What options do I have for mitigating these costs?

  • Welcome to Expats! All sorts of loose ends need to be cleaned up when you're planning this sort of move. While your question is typical for one that a soon-to-be expat might have, it's not really complicated by you moving out of the country, but rather a question on how to get out of a lease (where soon becoming an expat doesn't really change anything). – Tim Post Mar 20 '14 at 2:59

The dispute is over 3 months "rent" so I doubt you will have much success. If the landlord has the last month rent and a months rent security deposit, as is common in the States, the best you can hope for is to get released from one months rent. The landlord will probably fight for utilities and insurance.

Your best bet a to ask nicely and explain the benefits of coming to a compromise. Given that they are going to stage the house after you leave but before your lease is up, to me suggests that you should receive some compensation. The landlord probably would prefer you didn't sublet the place prior to them trying to sell. These seem like reasons a compromise could be reached. Maybe you could give up your last month rent and security deposit for a release from the lease.

If that fails you can hire a lawyer and threaten them or even withhold rent and see what happens. Given you are leaving the country the landlord probably doesn't want to get in a fight over a month or two of rent.

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  • trying to sell - Did you mean lease? – Karlson Mar 19 '14 at 21:04
  • @Karlson the OP mentions that the landlord wants to sell – Tim Seguine Mar 19 '14 at 21:05
  • @TimSeguine Yep. I see. – Karlson Mar 19 '14 at 21:06

It will depend on the contract you have sign with the landlord.

Generally they don't like losing money on the lease and if they don't have a special provision for early lease termination you may be on the hook for money.

There are several options that may be available for moving out early but if you don't want any financial consequences in the US (for example you are looking at some point in the future to move back to the US) most of them require cooperation of your landlord.

The simplest option that is available is you find a tenant that would be willing to sign a lease at the same or higher price for the apartment that you have rented. The landlord will have to agree to it in this case you don't pay any penalties and basically your lease terminates normally on the first of the month and the new tenant moves in.

The more complex option that the landlord has to agree to is subleting or subleasing. Which basically means that the rental agreement remains in your name but the payments are made by someone else it includes rent and utilities (rental insurance you should be able to cancel at any time).

There are uglier options that involve non-payment but I suggest you don't avail yourself of those.

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