Can you break a lease if you are subleasing?

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Can you break a lease if you are subleasing?

I needed to move for my job so I sublet my apartment because I can’t afford to pay 2 places rent. My sublessor has since informed me that she doesn’t want to keep living there. She has come up with a million reasons why, none of which effect safety or habitability, she just wants out. I personally believe it is because she found a cheaper place. I have hope, but don’t expect her to pay next months rent, however I can cover that with her security deposit. The month after that I wouldn’t be able to cover the rent though if she doesn’t pay again or just moves out. In that case I’d much rather break the lease than go through the hassle of finding another sublessor. I can’t afford to buy out the lease so I’d have to break it in hopes it’s rerented soon

and I wouldn’t have more than a month or 2s rent on my hands though I do know I’m legally responsible for the entire term if they don’t. What I’d like to do, knowing that she intends to leave eventually is just break the lease now. As far as I can imagine her breaking her sublease means I can keep her security deposit regardless and then I could use that to pay for June in hopes that they re-rent the place by july or august.

Or am I better off letting her move out, telling the complex that I can’t pay and forwarding the damages onto her when they sue for back rent since she broke her lease with me?

Asked on May 10, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) You can't break her lease early and keep her deposit: you will be breach of contract (the lease, even if it's only an unwritten one) and she could sue you--potentially, if she has to rent a more expensive place to stay because she was evicted, she could sue you for the difference in rent for some amount of time. And further, you could not keep her deposit if she was paid in full up to when you removed her. Unless you're willing to take the chance of being liable to her (and, as stated, also not getting the deposit), you have to wait until she actually does break the lease--either moves, or gives you (confirmed in writing) a firm date by which she will be out.
2) If she breaks her lease with you, if it is a lease for a definite period of time, which you imply (e.g. a one-year lease), you can sue her for the lesser of a) the remaining rent due for the remaining period or time under the lease or b) the rent due under the lease from when she broke it to when you re-sublet the space.
3) You are still liable to your landlord for your rent under you lease even if your sublessee breaks her lease: you can't "forward" the damages to her, but will have to pay any amounts you owe you landlord, even if you then sue her to recover the money she owes you.


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