Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Washington

Washington State laws and breaking a lease

My husband was transfered with his job. We had a lease and gave our notice. His company will pay up to 3 months of rent. The place we rented from was supposed to fax a copy of the lease to my husband's employer. But didn't, now everything is behind on payments, they have turned in a years worth of rent payments to a collection agency. Yet, it wasn't our fault. Is there some law allowing us out of our lease, because of a job transfer? The distance was across state. All I can find is info saying we only have to pay until they rerent the place. Yet now we are owing for a year and we are getting bad credit. This is for the state of Washington.

Asked on 10/02/98, 2:55 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Lawrence Glosser Law Office of Lawrence S. Glosser

Re: Washington State laws and breaking a lease

If you signed a lease, you are liable for the entire amount owing under the lease for the entire term. The fact that you gave "notice" is not relevant if you are otherwise obligated under the lease, and a transfer to another location is not a defense to those obligations. However, as you noted, the landlord has an obligation to mitigate damages (e.g. re-rent the unit) and any damages from your breach of the lease are offset my any amounts received from re-renting the apartment. For example, if your rent was $100 per month, and the landlord can re-rent the propery for $100 or more, you are not liable for the rent for those periods the apartment is re-rented. You are probably liable for any period the apartment sat vacant. Therefore, a claim for a year's rent is probably wrong, and you may have to file a complaint against the landlord to eliminate that claim.

The fact that your employer agreed to pay a few months rent is not relevant to the landlord's claim against you, however, you may have a separate claim against the employer for that amount and that claim could offset any amounts the landlord is legitimatly owed.

If you are in western Washington, you may contact me at my office if you need more information regarding this matter.

Lawrence Glosser

Law Office of Lawrence S. Glosser

1300 Seattle Tower, 1218 Third Avenue

Read more
Answered on 12/23/98, 2:29 am

Related Questions & Answers

More Real Estate and Real Property questions and answers in Washington