If my husband is getting relocated for a non-military job 3 hours away, is there a way we can break our current lease?

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If my husband is getting relocated for a non-military job 3 hours away, is there a way we can break our current lease?

I understand paying some of a fee but they want to charge us $6,500.

Asked on November 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

That $6500 charge is outrageous.  If you break the lease, you are only liable for rent until the place is re-rented.  Once the place is re-rented, your obligation to pay rent ends.  The landlord may retain a portion of the security deposit as damages (monetary compensation) for you breaking the lease.

The landlord cannot allow your rental to remain vacant for the balance 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, and allows the place to remain vacant, the landlord has failed to mitigate (minimize) damages and the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly.

Reasonable efforts on the part of a 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 rental in the newspaper, on line, in a local rental guide, etc.

As mentioned above, when the landlord re-rents the place, your obligation to pay rent ends.  If the new tenant is paying less rent than you were paying, you may be liable for the difference in rent for the balance of the term of your lease, provided that the landlord has a valid reason such as market conditions for charging the new tenant less rent.  If the landlord does not have a valid reason for charging the new tenant less rent, the landlord has failed to mitigate damages and you should not be liable for the difference in rent.


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