If I’m transferred out of state for my job, am I able to break my lease?

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If I’m transferred out of state for my job, am I able to break my lease?

There is 5 months left on a 12 month lease.

Asked on June 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, this situation does not entitle you to terminate your lease early.  You are still liable for the remaining rental payments until the end of your lease term.  However, all is not lost, your landlord is under a duty to "mitigate damages" once you move out. This means that he/she must use reasonable efforts to find a new tenant.  If and when this happens, you are relieved of any further rental obligation.

In order to expedite the finding of a new tenant perhaps you could help out your landlord. Do you know of someone who would like to move-in?  Ask around, to see if any family, friends, co-workers, etc. might be acceptable replacement tenants.  Also, ask if you can sublet your unit. In a sublet you would  become the "landlord".  You could charge the sub-tenant less than what you are paying but at least it would give you some monetary relief.  Something is better than nothing.  However, you would need your landlord's permission to do this in most cases.  But it is a possible option.  You should be aware however, that with a sublease, you will still remain liable for the rent if your subtenant fails to pay it. 

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, this situation does not entitle you to terminate your lease early.  You are still liable for the remaining rental payments until the end of your lease term.  However, all is not lost, your landlord is under a duty to "mitigate damages" once you move out. This means that he/she must use reasonable efforts to find a new tenant.  If and when this happens, you are relieved of any further rental obligation.

In order to expedite the finding of a new tenant perhaps you could help out your landlord. Do you know of someone who would like to move-in?  Ask around, to see if any family, friends, co-workers, etc. might be acceptable replacement tenants.  Also, ask if you can sublet your unit. In a sublet you would  become the "landlord".  You could charge the sub-tenant less than what you are paying but at least it would give you some monetary relief.  Something is better than nothing.  However, you would need your landlord's permission to do this in most cases.  But it is a possible option.  You should be aware however, that with a sublease, you will still remain liable for the rent if your subtenant fails to pay it. 


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