What costs am I responsible for, if I break my lease early?

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What costs am I responsible for, if I break my lease early?

I have broken my lease and I am buying a house. My landlord had us pay $200 to break out lease which is in writing. From their they would try to re-rent our apartment and we are responsible for rent until they do so. However, I have found out that they are not listing our apartment, and when people inquire about it, they only say another yet is available, even when we specifically ask about our unit. So they are not trying to rent ours, they are forcing people upon their other unit. Has my landlord broke our agreement, and are we off the hook for the rent?

Asked on December 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You landlord appears to be in breach of both the agreement and the law: the law requires people to try to mitigate, or minimize, damages. In the context of rental units, that means making reasonable good faith efforts to re-rent a unit, such as advertising it, or listing it with a broker or agent, and certainly letting people know it is available to rent if anyone inquires about units. Therefore, it appears that you would have grounds to stop paying; however, since your landlord may well try to sue you for the money, make sure you have evidence (e.g. notes  about when people have tried to rent the unit and can't; other people who would be witnesses and testify they were not told your unit was available; etc.) before you do so, so you could defend yourselves in any such suit.


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