What are “reasonable efforts” a landlord has to take regardingsubletting a property?

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What are “reasonable efforts” a landlord has to take regardingsubletting a property?

My husband, without my knowledge, signed a personal guarantee on a 3 year commercial lease. The small business we were operating went out of business after 2 years. 8 months before we closed the shop, we let him know our financial difficulties and he said he would “work with us”. We signed a sublet agreement 4 months before closing. We don’t believe he did anything to rent the space & is now suing us for $30K. What are our remedies? What should he have done? We even had to ask him for the “For Lease” sign to go in our store window.

Asked on August 31, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In legalese it is defined as “those steps that the landlord would have taken to rent the premises if they had been vacated in due course . . .”.  In everyday terms it means that the landlord has to make the same effort as if the premises were vacant and without a valid lease.  The landlord has to do what he normally does to rent the place: list it with a broker or brokers, put up a sign, advertise in the Church Bulletin - whatever.  There are no specifics listed in the Wisconsin statutes.  Every case of "reasonableness" is decided individually. It "mitigates" or reduces the damages to him for the lost rent. Now, on the flip side, if the landlord does not make "reasonable efforts" then you have a right to reduction in the monetary sense.  What I would do is bring whatever you signed to an attorney to read and review and then do some legwork yourself on what the landlord has done to mitigate.  How did you ren the place?  Did he list it there?  Good luck.


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