Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Utah

Q: Can I successfully sue for the August rent I paid and my security deposit in small claims court?

I had to end my 1 year lease (April 1 - March 31) early. I gave notice to my landlord on June 30 that my last day would be July 31. He informed me that it was my responsibility to find a tenant or I would have to pay $250 for his company to find a tenant for me and until a tenant was found, I had to keep paying rent. I did not want to pay, so I put the apartment online on multiple sites, put up a sign, and showed the unit to many people, but to no avail (partly because of the condition of the outside of the complex). August 1, after I moved out and had done a walk through with the landlord, I paid August rent since there was no tenant. Then, I read online that it is the landlord's responsibility to find a tenant. Given that I gave him a month's notice and he has made absolutely no effort to find a tenant for the property, can I successfully sue for the August rent I paid and my security deposit in small claims court?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jefferson S Cannon
Jefferson S Cannon

A: There may be more facts here but based on what is presented I would say no. This is due to the fact that your lease was for one year and you had agreed to that. Unless there was some different clause in your agreement regarding early termination, a landlord is not responsible to make reparation for your breaking the lease. The security deposit needs to be addressed separately. Typically in leases agreements, the security deposit has a clause that will cover any damage or necessary cleaning to be done and that can eat up your security deposit. The landlord would be required to provide you a breakdown of costs on that. However, if there was no damage and no repairs necessary then you should be able to get your deposit back. The landlord typically has 30 days to provide that to you or they need to return it to you.

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