How do I break a lease without penalty?

UPDATED: Aug 29, 2011

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How do I break a lease without penalty?

I have taken a job out of state, over 2 hours away from my apartment. I have moved and cannot live in my old apartment. I gave my old apartment 6 weeks written notice. They are saying since I didn’t tell them I changed jobs they are charging me the balance of my lease which is 10 months. I have lived in the building for around 5 years. I was hoping for better treatment than this.

Asked on August 29, 2011 Kentucky


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You are only liable for the rent until the apartment is re-rented.  The landlord cannot allow the apartment to remain vacant for the remaining ten months of your lease without making reasonable efforts to find a new tenant.  Reasonable efforts on the part of the landlord to rent the apartment would be determined by what other landlords in the area are doing to attract tenants; for example, posting a vacancy sign on the property, advertising in the newspaper rental ads, advertising in local rental guides, etc.

If the landlord fails to mitigate (minimize) damages by making reasonable efforts to re-rent the apartment, the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly.  Damages means the monetary compensation the landlord is seeking to recover from you.

If the landlord makes reasonable efforts to re-rent the apartment, but is unsuccessful, you would remain liable for the rent for the balance of the term of the lease.  It is difficult to believe that the landlord would be unable to find a new tenant within the next ten months.  If the landlord re-rents the apartment, but at a lower rent than what you were paying, you would be liable for the difference in rent  for the remainder of the term of your lease.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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