Is irreconcilable differences between my ex fiance and myself justification to break our lease 3 months early?

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Is irreconcilable differences between my ex fiance and myself justification to break our lease 3 months early?

I have offered to forfeit the deposit if I could break the lease. All that the landlord keeps saying is that we are both responsible for the rent. Is there anything that I can do to get out of the lease so that I do not have to continue to pay rent there even though I have already moved out?

Asked on February 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, irreconcilable differences would not be sufficient justification to break the lease.  If the place is re-rented before the remaining three months on your lease elapse, your obligation to pay rent will end.  The landord has to mitigate (minimize) damages (the amount of compensation he/she is claiming you owe) by making reasonable efforts to find another tenant.  The landord cannot allow the place to remain vacant for the remainder of the term of your lease without making reasonable efforts to find another tenant.  If the landlord does not make reasonable efforts to find another tenant, his/her damages will be reduced accordingly.  Reasonable efforts to find another tenant will be determined by what other landlords in the area are doing to attract tenants; for example, posting a sign on the premises advertising the vacant rental or advertising in the newspaper, online or in a local rental guide.

Once the place is re-rented, your obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of your lease ends; however, if the new tenant is paying 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 for charging the new tenant less rent such as market conditions.  If the landlord does not have a valid reason for charging the new tenant less rent, the landlord has feiled to mitigate damages and his/her damages will be reduced accordingly.


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