pay it forward?
January 23, 2006 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Do landlords have the legal right to seek forward rent if a tenant is evicted?

In other words, if a landlord evicts someone from an apartment, do they have the legal right to collect rent on that apartment from the time of the eviction until the time the lease would ordinarily expire?

I realize this varies from state to state, but I'm under the impression that these laws are pretty basic and uniform.
posted by Paris Hilton to Law & Government (5 answers total)
Shouldn't Paris Hilton have enough money that this doesn't matter?

Oh sorry...


The very last question here answers your question as best as can probably be done without a state specification, and a lawyer:

Q: Does the tenant owe rent after the termination of the lease and being evicted?

A: The landlord and the court may terminate the right of the tenant to occupy the premises. However, in many areas the tenant can still be held liable for the payment of rent if the lease provides for it. But it is unusual for the landlord to sue the tenant a second time if the reason for the first lawsuit was nonpayment of rent.
posted by twiggy at 3:17 PM on January 23, 2006

Sorry, when I found that link via google, I wasn't asked for a zip code. Now when I click it from here, I am. Glad I posted the Q/A!
posted by twiggy at 3:18 PM on January 23, 2006

I realize this varies from state to state, but I'm under the impression that these laws are pretty basic and uniform.

Yes, it varies by state, and no, these laws are not basic nor uniform.

First and foremost, it depends on what your rental agreement says. Then, it depends on the laws of your jurisdiction. Most likely, yes, the landlord can do this.
posted by MrZero at 4:25 PM on January 23, 2006

In Wisconsin, a 1980 court case ruled that "surrender of the premises" negated the right to seek future rent. But this is case law, not statute, and Wisconsin is pretty tenant-friendly.

In the situation where they can seek future rent until the completion of a lease, however, it depends on a number of factors. The landlord must make a good-faith effort to re-rent the premises, including advertising and showing it to prospectives. There are likely similar caveats in your state.

Look for a "landlord-tenant law resource center" or a "tenants' rights agency" or something like that.
posted by dhartung at 10:36 PM on January 23, 2006

As many have said, it greatly depends on the state. However, this is likely permissible under the lease as you were most likely in "total" breach, thus allowing the LL to accelerate his damages.

You should however read your state's property code very carefully to ensure that your eviction was done properly. A LL has to meet a litany of procedures to ensure proper eviction and if they erred on one, you might have some cause of action. Also pay close attention to any provision requiring a LL to mitigate his damages.
posted by lawfrog at 4:42 PM on January 26, 2006

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