Lease Agreement | Frequently Asked Questions

Lease Agreement | Frequently Asked Questions

Lease Agreement | Question #1:


A lease stated the total number of months the tenant will be allowed to reside in the unit, usually month to month or for 1 year. It is important to understand that, even though the lease requires the rent to be paid monthly, a tenant is still responsible for the lease unit it expires. This means that a tenant must pay the rent and perform all of the obligations of the lease until the end of the lease. Breaking the lease by moving out of the apartment, still makes you responsible, even if you do not physically reside in the unit.

Lease Agreement | Question #2:

Can I break an apartment lease before it begins?


Leases are binding contracts that take legal effect on the day they are signed, not when the tenant moves in. Once signed, they bind the tenant to pay the rent and observe the lease provisions for the full term of the lease. Legally, you are on the hook for the lease rent for the entire lease term. This means that he can require you to pay rent for the full lease term and sue you if you do not, regardless of whether you choose to live in the property. However, there’s nothing to stop you negotiating with the landlord. In California, a landlord who intends to sue for the rent due under the lease must reduce his tenant’s liability as much as he reasonably can and must use reasonable efforts to find a replacement tenant. You remain liable for the rent while the landlord actively seeks a new tenant, as well as your landlord’s advertising costs. Under California law, landlords are permitted to deduct unpaid rent from the tenant’s security deposit, and you are liable for rent from the first rent payment date in the lease until the lease is terminated by expiry, the legal process of eviction, or mutual agreement.

Lease Agreement | Question #3:


Under California Law Civil Code, if a tenant abandons the unit before the end of the term of the lease, then the lease is breached and terminated immediately. Thus, the landlord is eligible to recover the following costs from the tenant:

  1. Unpaid rent between the time the tenant abandons the unit and end of the lease.
  2. The cost for any repairs and damages the tenant is responsible for until the unit is rented again.
  1. Other expenses incurred by the landlord until the rental unit is rented again.

The landlord may recover unpaid rent and other incurred expenses from the tenant, but the property owner or manager must act in good faith to rent out the vacated unit as soon as possible.

The landlord may recover unpaid rent from the tenant’s security deposit, but the landlord should first use the funds from the security deposit for cleaning or repair of the unit.

Lease Agreement | Question #4:

Can my landlord hold me liable for a lease after it expires if I am a co-tenant and my roommates stay.
How much in rent am I liable for?


When a tenant signs a lease with a landlord, each named tenant on the lease is responsible under joint and several liability. Meaning, any damages or extra costs that result from the lease, each of you are responsible. If you are not released from the lease, whether or not you are residing in the unit, you are still responsible for any and all damages that arise from the tenancy. The landlord should create a new lease with the current tenants who want to stay or to sign a release for you, so that when the other tenants leave the unit in the future, any damages or charges would not go against you.

Lease Agreement | Question #5:

I rent from a family member who got evicted, I am not on the lease, Do I have to Leave?


A sublease is a separate rental agreement between the original tenant and a new tenant who moves in with the original tenant and shares the rent. With a sublease, the agreement between the original tenant and the landlord remains in force. When the master lease between the landlord and tenant is no longer in effect, this affects the tenant and any other sub-lessor.

Contact the Law Office of Aaron Kohanim today to schedule a consultation. You can call us at (310) 861-7506.  If you prefer to send a quick message, visit our Contact Us page.

The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Legal questions can only be fully answered through consultation with an attorney to whom you give full and accurate details. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from an attorney by setting up a confidential meeting. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct.

Lease Agreement | Frequently Asked Questions - Kohan-Law, The Law Office of Aaron kohanim - Real Estate Law, Tenant Eviction Law, Landlord Eviction Law, Civil Litigation Lawyer


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