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In Texas, a renter rents a house with a one year lease term.

Renter is not late on rent and is currently paying rent on time.

Renter lived in the house for 7 months and moves out, but continues to pay rent in accordance with the rental agreement.

Renter did NOT formally terminate the lease, but did tell landlord that they have moved out, but will continue paying until the lease term expires. Landlord rents out the house to another renter (presumably in order to get double rent money)

Can:

1) Renter re-move into the property? or barring that, can renter, 2) Refuse to pay any more rent?

It seems that landlord has breached the lease agreement by re-taking possession of the property and renting the house making it so that renter cannot move back in or live there if they wanted.

  • I'm not sure about texas law but in NY as I understand it the landlord has to stop accepting rent from the first tenant after renting to the second. – phoog Oct 5 '16 at 21:17
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    Pretty much all rental agreements require residency - which means you have to actually be living there. If you move out and leave the property unoccupied, even if still paying for it, you have broken the lease and the landlord can then find a new tenant. If the person told them they were moving out, that is a formal acknowledgement of their intent to leave and break the contract. The landlord is usually entitled to one or two month's rent to cover damages of having to find a new tenant. But all of this is highly dependent on the specific contract that was signed. – animuson Oct 6 '16 at 2:56
  • Did the tenant return keys? – user662852 Oct 6 '16 at 18:26
  • I'm closing this because it does not provide enough information. The only thing that can really solve this dispute is the contract, which we do not have, and requires a lawyer or judge to analyze and determine who (the lessee or the landlord) actually broke the terms of that contract. – animuson Oct 6 '16 at 18:43
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yes, a lease for a rental entitles the lessee full use of the property being rented as agreed. the landlord is in violation.

  • It is very, very unlikely that this is true. Read my comment on the question above. Almost always if the tenant moves out and no longer occupies the space, they have broken their lease. It doesn't matter if they continued paying for it or not. Unless there was a formal agreement between landlord and tenant that ignored the lease and allowed him to continue renting the property despite not living there, by all intents and purposes the tenant vacated. – animuson Oct 6 '16 at 16:41
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    per the op, the renter assured the landlord that they would continue payment to uphold the agreement, and the landlord presumably accepted these continued payments. every lease ive seen names who may occupy the rental under the agreement, and none ive come across require that the unit be occupied some % of the time. the crux of the matter is, the landlord has no right to continued payment if they have broken the agreement themselves to rent to someone else. either the renter paying has access as agreed, or they do not have to pay. its one or the other. – JJBee Oct 6 '16 at 17:04
  • That's not at all what the OP says. I read that statement as "I'm leaving but I'm going to continue paying while you find a replacement" and I'd imagine that's what actually happened. Bottom line is, though, we don't have nearly enough information on this question to know a) what actually happened in the conversation between landlord and tenant and b) what the contract allows. I've never personally encountered a lease agreement that allows people to just leave for long periods of time. It's a standard requirement to ensure that the property is maintained and not left to rot. – animuson Oct 6 '16 at 17:07
  • "Renter did NOT formally terminate the lease, but did tell landlord that they have moved out, but will continue paying until the lease term expires. Landlord rents out the house to another renter (presumably in order to get double rent money) Can: 1) Renter re-move into the property? or barring that, can renter, 2) Refuse to pay any more rent?" – JJBee Oct 6 '16 at 17:08
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    I didn't want to get too specific because it would appear as if I'm trying to get specific legal advice. I guess I was right because it appears as though it's been closed for that very reason up above. But no, this is a near-hypothetical situation that might just come to pass like this. The lease does have a requirement that the tenant occupy the rental house, so the tenant stopped in every day on the way home from work to check out the property. – mark b Oct 7 '16 at 2:14

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