What are a landlord’s obligations regarding damage to a rental and the termination of a lease?

I own a property and my tenant signed a 1 year lease not to expire for another 7 months. I received 6 month’s rent and 1 month security. Due to a hurricane the house basement got flooded. I am working with contractors to removed the water and repair the entire basement. The 1st and 2nd floor did not get affected. My tenant wants to move out and is asking for the rent and full security refund. Do I have to refund the money?

Asked on November 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If your tenant's unit has not been impacted and there is no problem with heat, hot water and electricity, then you should have no issues and the tenant cannot be out of his or her lease without still being obligated to you for the remainder of the lease. This person could move out but a) he or she would have to pay you for each month you cannot find a tenant and b) you must use good faith to mitigate your damages by immediately advertising the unit to find a new tenant.


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