out with your landlord. If you make a deal, get the agreement (referred to legally as a release) in writing to prove you are no longer responsible under the lease. In any case, you should at least give the landlord notice of your intentions to leave because you should receive credit for any rents collected on your place after you move out and another tenant has replaced you. Giving notice may enable the landlord to find another tenant before you actually move out. Your landlord has the duty to mitigate damages if you abandon your residence in violation of your lease. You can also find someone else to rent your place to practically eliminate your liabilit , as long as the landlord finds him or her acceptable. However, landlords can charge you a reasonable "reletting fee" for having to prepare the dwelling for reletting and having to redo paperwork. The reletting fee must be a fair amount to cover actual expenses and cannot be unfairly inflated (you cannot be "penalized" for breaking a lease). If a new tenant is not found, a land- lord can charge you only for the total rent owed under the rest of your lease (and cannot also charge you any reletting fee or other termination fee). If you do move out early, with or without an agree- ment, follow the advice outlined below. This may avoid additional penalties being assessed.
When you get ready to move out at the end of the lease, you should give your landlord a written copy of your forwarding address. It is always better to supply a local address to your landlord. Your forward- ing address can be the address of your attorney, a family member, or someone else acting as your agent. Always leave the place clean and personally return the keys. The landlord may be able to charge you for each day that you have the keys. Take pictures or videotape the residence, have witnesses walk through the place, and ask the land- lord or manager to walk through as proof of the condition of the place when you left. Also, ask the landlord if there is any damage she plans to charge to you. Make a list as you go and get the landlord to sign the list. You have the right to repair or remedy these things your- self. If you disagree with the landlord, try to negotiate in person and in writing. If the landlord will not walk through the place with you (or sign the list), send her a letter requesting a walk through again and state that she would not agree to walk through the place with you or sign the list. Keep a copy of the letter yourself. Later, if the land- lord makes deductions from your deposit for repairs that you would have completed yourself (at a lower cost), you have a basis to dispute the amount of the deductions. See "Security Deposits."
This handbook was written for residential tenants that are renting a dwelling. If you are renting a mobile home and a lot, the rules and advice in this brochure are applicable to you in the same way that they apply to tenants who rent apartments or homes. However, if you are just renting a lot or plot of land from a landlord and you own the mobile home on that lot, this handbook is not complete. While