How do I break a lease without penalty?

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How do I break a lease without penalty?

I have taken a job out of state, over 2 hours away from my apartment. I have moved and cannot live in my old apartment. I gave my old apartment 6 weeks written notice. They are saying since I didn’t tell them I changed jobs they are charging me the balance of my lease which is 10 months. I have lived in the building for around 5 years. I was hoping for better treatment than this.

Asked on August 29, 2011 Kentucky

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are only liable for the rent until the apartment is re-rented.  The landlord cannot allow the apartment to remain vacant for the remaining ten months of your lease without making reasonable efforts to find a new tenant.  Reasonable efforts on the part of the landlord to rent the apartment would be determined by what other landlords in the area are doing to attract tenants; for example, posting a vacancy sign on the property, advertising in the newspaper rental ads, advertising in local rental guides, etc.

If the landlord fails to mitigate (minimize) damages by making reasonable efforts to re-rent the apartment, the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly.  Damages means the monetary compensation the landlord is seeking to recover from you.

If the landlord makes reasonable efforts to re-rent the apartment, but is unsuccessful, you would remain liable for the rent for the balance of the term of the lease.  It is difficult to believe that the landlord would be unable to find a new tenant within the next ten months.  If the landlord re-rents the apartment, but at a lower rent than what you were paying, you would be liable for the difference in rent  for the remainder of the term of your lease.


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