How doI get out of my lease early without be charged for the entire remaining rent?

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How doI get out of my lease early without be charged for the entire remaining rent?

I’m new to this state and recently moved into an apartment with a 12 month lease. I am attending college and recently decided that I would like to move on campus. I had talked to my landlord about it and he had said the only thing that would happen is I would lose my deposit which I’m OK with. I told him I was thinking about it next semester but the school wants to get me on campus now. He is now telling me that if I want to move out I have to pay out the rest of my lease or he will contact his attorney. I do not feel safe living in this apartment with things that have occurred since I’ve moved in and I have told him that, yet he still won’t let me. What do I do?

Asked on October 24, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you are liable for the rent until the apartment is re-rented.  The landlord cannot allow the apartment to remain vacant for the balance of the term of your lease.  The landlord is required to make reasonable efforts to re-rent the place.  Reasonable efforts would depend on what other landlords in the area are doing to attract tenants such as posting a sign on the property about the vacancy, advertising in the newspaper or in a local rental guide or online, etc.  The landlord is required to mitigate (minimize) damages by making reasonable efforts to re-rent the place.  If the landlord fails to mitigate damages, the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly.  Damages means the amount of compensation the landlord is trying to recover from you.

If the landlord finds another tenant, your obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of your lease ends; however, if the new tenant is being charged less rent than you were paying, you would remain liable for the difference in rent for the balance of the term of your lease.  The landlord would have to have a valid reason such as market conditions for charging less rent.  If the landlord does NOT have a valid reason for charging the new tenant less rent, then the landlord has not mitigated damages and the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly.


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