Sidney and Margaret Gee (plaintiffs) signed a contract to lease an apartment from Marvin Nieberg (defendant) for one year. The parties signed the lease on July 18, 1969, with the lease to begin on August 1, 1969. The Gees paid Nieberg a security deposit of $315, one month’s rent. After 11 months, the parties orally agreed that if the Gees found another place to live, Nieberg would release them from their rent obligations. Pursuant to this oral agreement, the Gees moved out, having paid 11 months’ rent plus the initial security deposit. The Gees brought suit seeking a return of the security deposit. Nieberg claimed the security deposit as the last month’s rent. The trial court ruled that the parties’ oral agreement terminated the lease and awarded the Gees $315 plus interest for their security deposit. Nieberg appealed.