I've just purchased an apartment and broken a lease, as of October 31 on a rent-stabilized apartment. The lease would have expired on December 31, 2004 and I notified the landlord of my intent to move in mid-September. There hasn't been anything said about paying until the apt is re-rented and I haven't received my security deposit back to date (of course it's only Nov 1), but I'm wondering if I can count on receiving any of my deposit? A friend told me that a lease can be broken if tenant is purchasing property, but I didn't ever find that rule in print anywhere. I inquired with NYC Housing about this, but no answer. Can you help?
- Alice Ann

We aren't aware of any rule that would allow a tenant to break the lease if purchasing property elsewhere. (In fact, someone we know recently did the same thing; she bought a house in the burbs and broke the lease on her Manhattan apartment. In her case, the management company she was leasing from was nice about it, though.)

We suggest talking it over with your landlord. Legally, he can withold your security deposit to cover the rent you would have paid for the month(s) you don't live in your apartment. Since you've already moved, there's no guarantee you'll get your deposit back.

Often, though, landlords are anxious to have apartments vacated because it means they can rent them out for more money. It may be that you won't be penalized, give that such a short amount of time is left on your lease, and that the landlord is likely anxiously trying to rent out the apartment again.

So, basically, talk to you landlord, but if you've already vacated the apartment and your landlord knows about it, don't count on getting the deposit back.

See also the Rent Guidelines Board Lease FAQ and Ask Gothamist's advice to lease breakers and what to do when you move out a month early.