Can I break my lease that has 2 months remaining if I’m relocating for work to another state?

Can I break my lease that has 2 months remaining if I’m relocating for work to another state? My lease ends in 3 months but have to move the end of this month. I have been living in my apartment going on 2 years and never once missed or made a late payment.

Asked on February 29, 2016 under Real Estate Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Have you read your lease carefully? There may be language relating to this. If not, then unfortunately a job relocation does not entitle you to terminate your lease. You'll still liable for the remaining rent until the end of the lease term. That having been said, a landlord is under a duty to "mitigate damages" once a tenant moves out. This means that they must use reasonable efforts to find a new tenant. So, in your case if this ocurrs, you will be relieved of any further rental obligation.
In order to expedite things, maybe you know of someone who would like take over your place. Also, ask your landlord if you can sublet your unit. With a sublet, you in effect become the "landlord". You could charge the sub-tenant less than what you are paying but it at least would give you some financial relief. However, you would need your landlord's permission to do so. Although, with a sublease, you will still remain liable for the rent if your subtenant fails to pay. 
Note: Check with your HR department, possibly your employer can help offset some of your rental expenses with a relocation allowance.

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