How much can landlord raise rent when trying to mitigate damages due to a tenant moving out?

My husband and I bought a house before the end of our lease. We spoke to our leasing office and they said they would only hold us responsible until they find a new tenant. However, on their website I see that they are asking for $600 more then we would be paying during the same time period. Can they do that?

Asked on January 30, 2019 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The answer is, "it depends": it depends on whether the increased rent reflects fair market value or not. If you had been receiving what can be shown to be undermarket value rent, such as due to how long you'd lived there or because the home was unrenovated when you took it, it the home legitimately would command more now (e.g. because the market is higher than when you signed your lease; because the landlord did recently renovate it; etc.) they can seek that fair market value. They don't have to accept less than market to save you from having to pay for breaching the lease. But they can't raise the rent to discourage renters and hold you liable; they have to be marketing at a fair, reasonable price for the home.


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