If I am taking a new job out of the area andI need to break my lease, what are my options?

Asked on November 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First off what, if anything, does your lease say about having to break it due to the circumstances? Some leases do provide protection for a tenant in the event of a change in employment, job transfer, etc. If you lease is silent as to this, then unfortunately you are not entitled to an early lease termination. You will remain liable for rent until the ending date of your lease. You should be aware, however, that your landlord is under what is known as a "duty to mitigate damages" after you move out. This means that they must use reasonable efforts to find a new tenant.  If this happens, once that tenant moves in you will be relieved of any further lease obligations.

Possibly you know of someone who would like take over your space? Ask family, friends, neighbors, former co-workers, etc. Also, you may be able to sublet your unit If your lease allows it and/or your landlord agrees to it). With a sublet you become the landlord (actually the "sub-landlord"). You could even choose to charge the "sub-tenant" less than what you are paying so it would make your unit more desirable and at least give you some financial relief. However, you should be aware, that with a sublease you will still remain liable for the rent even if your sub-tenant fails to pay you.

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