How quickly can a landlord re-rent a room and still be entitled to keep pre-paid rent?

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How quickly can a landlord re-rent a room and still be entitled to keep pre-paid rent?

I rent a room in my home on a month-to-month basis. We just got a roommate who paid her first month’s rent. After being here 1 day she changed her mind, gave her 30-days’ notice and vacated the room. Since it’s a 30-day agreement and we will not be returning her rent money, must we wait 30 days before re-renting the room, or can we re-rent it right away?

Asked on July 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You pose good question here. The fact is that once you re-rent this room you are liable to return any pre-paid rent (less damages). In such a circumstance a landlord cannot double-dip as it were. Additionally, if you can re-rent ASAP then you are under a duty to do so because a landlord must use it's best efforts to mitigate damages by not having a rental unit remain vacate longer then reasonably necessary. So for example, not bringing a new tenant would be lawful  if you need to repaint the room, etc. or if you cannot find an acceptable tenant.


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