What is a tenant’s obligation under a broken lease once their unit is re-rented?

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What is a tenant’s obligation under a broken lease once their unit is re-rented?

I broke my lease 3 weeks ago. When to check my mail 3 days ago, someone was already moved into the apartment. What penalties do I owe to the landlord?

Asked on October 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Once the unit is re-rented, your obligation to pay rent ends.

If the unit had NOT been re-rented, you would have been liable for the rent for the remainder of the term of your lease.  The landlord is required to mitigate (minimize) damages by making reasonable efforts to find another tenant.  If the landlord failed to mitigate damages and allowed the unit to remain vacant for the balance of the term of your lease without making reasonable efforts to find another tenant, the landlord's damages would have been reduced accordingly.

If the new tenant is paying less rent than you were paying, you would be liable for the difference in rent between what you were paying and what the new tenant is paying for the balance of the term of your lease.  Again, the landlord would have to have a valid reason for charging the new tenant less (such as market conditions); otherwise, the landlord would have failed to mitigate damages and the landlord's damages would be reduced accordingly.


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