What do I need to do if my 88 year old father is in a convalescent home and I’d like to have him move in with me after discharge rather than return to his apartment?

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What do I need to do if my 88 year old father is in a convalescent home and I’d like to have him move in with me after discharge rather than return to his apartment?

The only way he could return to apartment living would be with home-health services, “meals-on-wheels”, etc. Are these sufficient grounds for breaking a lease or will my father have to pay a rather large penalty for leaving earlier than the one year term?

Asked on October 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, your father will remain liable for the rent for the balance of the term of the lease or until the place is re-rented.  When the place is re-rented,  your father's obligation to pay rent ends.  The landlord cannot allow the place to remain vacant without making reasonable efforts to find another tenant.  If the landlord does not make reasonable efforts to find another tenant, the landlord has failed to mitigate (minimize) damages (the amount the landlord claims your father owes) and the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly.  Reasonable efforts on the part of the landlord 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 property advertising the vacancy, advertising the vacancy in the newspaper, online, in a local rental guide, etc.

If the place is re-rented, your father's obligation to pay rent ends as mentioned above; however, if the new tenant is paying less rent than your father, your father is liable for the difference in rent for the balance of the term of his lease.  The landlord has 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 failed to mitigate damages, the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly, and your father won't be liable for the difference in rent for the balance of the term of his lease.


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