Is there a limit to the number of months of rent I have to pay if I break my lease?

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Is there a limit to the number of months of rent I have to pay if I break my lease?

I signed a lease 4 months ago. The landlord was told I was waiting for security clearance but the employer, a government agency, was saying it was important I be ready to start work on May 16th. I was not turned down for the security clearance but it still hasn’t gonethrough. I haven’t heard from the employer in a month. I let the landlord know at the end last month that I could no longer keep the townhouse because I have never gotten the job and still have no income. I paid this month’s rent. He has asked that I pay to re-list the property and pay the rent every month until they find a new tenant.

Asked on August 10, 2011 West Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Actually, there is no such limit. A contract is a contract and you must honor your lease for the balance of the time remaining on it; or at least until new tenants are found. However long that may be. The fact is that in such a situation a landlord must "mitigate damages". This means that they must make reasonable and good faith attempts to re-let the premises as soon as possible. From the sounds of things your landlord is doing just that; this is why they are charging you a re-listing fee.


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