Washington  |  Landlord & Tenant Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 1/02/09, 2:45 am

Legality of fees for breaking a 2 year lease

I am relocating to another state due to my job. I signed a 2 year lease and am into mo 11. I helped to re-rent the condo and they now have a new tenant secured, contract & deposit in hand. I am now told that they will withhold nearly $1100 of my deposit due to a lease fee clause. The clause is ambiguous as written: 'This amount shall be a minimum of $166.67 if lease is broken in the first 12 months...' The property mgr claims that they will be charging the owner a re-leasing fee of $2k which I am responsible for paying - hence the $166.67 fee. I read the clause to mean that I would have to pay the $166.67 for ea mo it remained unrented. It's rented and I'm moving out and the new tenant is moving in 4 days later. Is this legal - given that the lease does not state what the amount of the ''lease fee'' is anywhere - and their math to arrive at the $1083.42 doesn't even compute with the language of the clause. Also - they had the lease notarized, but only the landlord's agent signed it. In WA St, doesn't a 2 yr+ lease require the signature of the landlord & the tenant to be valid? Thank you fo ryour help.

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