How do I get out of my lease without having to pay for the full year?

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2011

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How do I get out of my lease without having to pay for the full year?

I just recently renewed my lease for a year. Then learned that I may be able to take over payments on my older brother’s home with the help of my younger brother and sister (my grandparent’s old home). My new lease takes effect starting next month. What, if any, are my options?

Asked on August 5, 2011 Utah


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, since your new lease hasn't started yet, speak with your landlord. Possibility there are others to whom the unit can be rented. If that doesn't work, unfortunately, this situation does not entitle you to terminate your lease early.  You are still liable for the remaining rental payments until the end of your lease term.  However, you should be aware that your landlord is under a duty to "mitigate damages" once you move out. This means that they must use reasonable efforts to re-rent the premises.  If and when this happens, you will be relieved of any further rental obligation.

In order to expedite things, perhaps you could help out your landlord. Do you know of someone who would like to move-in?  Ask aroundto see if any family, friends, co-workers, etc. might be interested (and be acceptable to your landlord).  Also, see if you can sublet your unit (you'll need your landlord's permission). With a sublet you would  become in effect become the "landlord".  To make things easier, you could charge the sub-tenant less than what you are paying but at least it would give you some monetary relief (although with a sublease you will still remain liable for the rent if your subtenant fails to pay you). 

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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