Can my landlord legally require me to find replacement tenants if I choose to break my 12-month lease early?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can my landlord legally require me to find replacement tenants if I choose to break my 12-month lease early?

The day I moved into this apartment, one of the neighbors who was moving out told me “good luck” because 3 of these 4 apartments got burglarized last year. I quickly realized that this is a terrible neighborhood, and I am terrified to live here. I want to break my lease so I can move to a safe neighborhood. In my lease it states that I may only break my lease early if I find replacement tenants and pay a $300 administrative fee. Is this policy legal?

Asked on August 11, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is not the tenant's responsibility to find replacement tenants.  That is the landlord's responsibility.  A landlord can continue charging you rent  for the remainder of the lease term if you break the lease until the place has been re-rented.  The landlord has to mitigate (minimize) damages (monetary compensation) by making reasonable efforts to  re-rent the place as soon as possible and not just allow it to sit vacant.   If due to market conditions, the new tenant is charged less than the amount of rent you were paying, the landlord could hold you liable for the difference in rent for the remainder of your lease term.

The provision of the lease regarding the tenant finding replacement tenants was poorly written, but was probably intended to inform the tenant that the tenant remains liable for the rent as discussed above until the place has been re-rented.

Although you can challenge this poorly written provision in court, it may be difficult to prevail because the lease is a contract and by signing the lease you agreed to that provision.  Sometimes a court will consider the relative bargaining strengths of the parties to a contract and may modify an extremely onerous provision when there is a great disparity in the relative bargaining strengths of the parties.  Although that is within the judge's discretion, I would not count on that happening because it is extremely rare and although the provision is poorly written, even if modified, you would still remain liable for the rent until the place is re-rented by the landlord.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption