Q: Can my landlord do this?

When I moved into my townhouse 5 months ago I signed a one-year lease with my landlord. I’ve been retrenched and am moving back to my parents, but my landlord says that I have to pay him 7 months’ rent because I’m breaking our lease agreement contract. Can he do this? 

My employee can’t read or write

A:

Even though you signed a one-year lease, you are still able to terminate the lease early. The Consumer Protection Act gives you the right to cancel the lease on 20 business days’ notice to the landlord. Generally speaking, the landlord cannot demand that you pay for the full unexpired period of the lease. But he can claim a cancellation penalty from you, provided the penalty amount is sufficiently reasonable to compensate him for your early termination. What may be considered “reasonable” is determined on its own facts, so get advice from an attorney who will advise you after reading your contract of lease.

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