If I need to relocate but am only halfway through my lease, how can I get my landlord to look for a new tenant?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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If I need to relocate but am only halfway through my lease, how can I get my landlord to look for a new tenant?

I’m halfway through a year lease on a house and need to move due to job relocation. I am actively trying to find a subleaser for my house but have not yet found one. We are vacating the house in 3 days but will still actively try to find one and also assume monthly rent payments until we do, of course. Our landlord has not been actively trying to re-rent the house. How do we go about this? I don’t want to stop paying rent and face repercussions, however I don’t want to pay it if I’m not legally required to do so under the fact she is not trying to re-rent it.

Asked on November 3, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Your landlord does have a duty to make "reasonable" efforts to re-rent, which generally means listing it online, putting a "for rent" sign on the yard, and *possibly* retaining a listing agent or realtor to help (that depends on what is generally considered "reasonable" in terms of leasing/renting in your area, for a house like this). That's the good news.
The bad news, you can't affirmatively force her to do these things, and if you fail to pay the rent you owe under the lease, you can be sued for breach of contract--which may mean having to return to this area to defend in court. In the lawsuit, if you believe that the landlord did not make reasonable efforts to re-rent, you raise her failure to "mitigate" (or minimize/reduce) her "damages" (or lost rental income) by trying to re-rent as a defense, and if the judge/court agrees, that will generally reduce or limit how much she can get from you. (E.g if the judge feels that if she'd made reasoanble efforts, she would have re-rented in 2 months, she might be limited to two more months of rent.)

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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