Washington, DC


Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

“Dear PoPville,

In November, I got a new job out of state that I started in January. My family has been renting a great home in Manor Park since August 2015 and our lease is slated to end at the end of July 2020. When we inquired with our property management company about our options they said we could 1) market and show the property ourselves and if we found new tenants the penalty would only be the loss of a portion of our deposit, or 2) have the property management company market the property, which would require a 60 day notice to vacate (read: two additional months rent) and the loss of our entire deposit. The property management company recommended that we go with option one, which made sense to us.

Flash forward to mid-February.

My wife, who has remained in DC with our two kids, showed the property to over a dozen people, many of whom submitted applications to the property management company. At least three of the applications were deemed “satisfactory” by the property management company and forwarded on to the property owners. However, the property owners determined that the applicants were not “satisfactory” or “ideal” so denied the applications. I have no idea what that means, but it smells funny to me since we found potential tenants that made it through the property manager’s screening process. Now, the property management company is saying that the property owners want them to market the property and that we must provide a notice of intent to vacate if we wish to terminate the lease (five months shy of finishing out five years in the house). Essentially, this is forcing us to go down the path of the second, much more costly option.

My question for anyone out there with knowledge about such matters: Are we and/or the potential tenants that we found being screwed? Or, alternatively, are we on the hook for losing at a minimum two more months rent (even though we will be leaving the house vacant) and our deposit? Is it worth getting a lawyer?

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