If I have 15 months left on my lease but want to move out sooner than that, does my landlord have an obligation to look for a replacement tenant?

I found a great program which will help me with a down payment assistance on a house. This is a great opportunity and may not be available soon. My landlord agrees to sublease but I don’t want the legal responsibility associated with subleasing. Instead I have given the landlord a 90 days notice and told him I would not be moving until he found my replacement (I don’t want to be sued for the unpaid rent). How do I find out if he is indeed looking for new tenants? What is the best I can do to safeguard myself from unpaid rent lawsuit?

Asked on November 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unless your lease allows you to provide notice and move out early, the 90 days notice you provided is irrelevant: the landlord may legally ignore it and do nothing to find a new tenant, secure in the knowledge that your are legally obligated to pay rent. (That is, the law does not itself give a right to cancel a lease early; such a right can only be found in the lease.) If you do break the lease, then the landlord has to try to re-let the premises in order to mitigate his damages, and must make "reasonable" efforts to do so. You will, however, still be liable for the rent after breaking your lease, until either the end of the lease or the landlord re-rents the space, whichever comes first.

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