What can be done to lessen a tenant’s liability if they move out early but there is 11 months left on their lease?

I rented an apartment for my dad (lease under my name) because he has a bad credit. It was a 1 year lease that ended last month. He asked me to renew the lease earlier this summer, so I did. The new lease began this month and runs for another year. However, my dad moved out yesterday without telling me and now I’m stuck with this apartment with 11 months remaining on the lease. The apartment is rent stabilized with 21 units that don’t allow subletting. I thought about subletting without letting management know but read about some horror stories about subtenants not paying rent and not moving out. I’m not sure what to do. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Asked on October 24, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since subletting is not allowed, you really shouldn't go that route illegally. The fact is that every landlord is under a duty to "mitigate damages". This means that if a tenant moves out, a landlord is under a legal duty to try and re-let the premises as soon as possible. In other words, a landlord cannot simply wait for the breached lease term to expire; they must actively seek out a replacement. Failure to do so can limit the amount of damages that the landlord can recover.
What this means for you is that, while you may have to cover a month or two of rent, you will probably pay no more than that. Your best bet at this point is to inform your landlord of your situation and see what you can work out.


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