If I terminate a lease without prior to occupancy in California – and provide written notice 18 days prior to lease start date – what is my penalty?

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If I terminate a lease without prior to occupancy in California – and provide written notice 18 days prior to lease start date – what is my penalty?

Asked on June 18, 2009 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You will be liable for the entire rent.  However, the landlord is under a duty to mitigate damages; this means that he/she is legally obliged to use good faith to try and re-rent the premises.  Once the apartment is leased to a new tenant your rental obligation ceases.  So, for example,  if it takes 60 days to re-lease you would be liable for 2 months rent.

You could also try and find a new tenant yourself.  Possibly you know of someone.  It might be quicker and therefore you decrease your penalty for early termination.


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