Does a landlord have to help you find new tenants if you need to break your lease? 8 Answers as of October 22, 2014

We renewed our lease with a verbal understanding from the landlord that we were not going to stay for the full term. I understand this was not the smartest thing but we cannot go back now. The landlord agreed to work with us to find new tenants when we knew when we would be moving out. We provide as much notice as possible, over 6 weeks and the landlord is doing very little to help, as well as communicate with us. Is there anything we can do? If we just break the lease, what kind of repercussions will we be looking at?

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WEISSMAN LAW FIRM
WEISSMAN LAW FIRM | I.Donald Weissman
A landlord does not need to help you find a new tenant. However, the landlord has a duty under the law to mitigate his damages. This means he has to try to re-rent the unit as soon as possible. If he sues for breach of the lease he must demonstrate to the court his efforts to re-rent the property.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/22/2014
Dessy & Dessy, a Professional Corporation | Ronald D. Dessy
Yes, every person has a duty to take reasonable action to minimize their damages. If the landlord does that, you will be liable for all rental losses through the scheduled termination date of your lease. You may be able to limit that liability, if you send an email or a letter to the landlord asking him if you can assist by advertising for a replacement tenant, and if so, any particular wording desired by the landlord, regardless of whether the landlord responds.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/22/2014
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
You are liable for the full cost (rent and expenses) for the term of the lease. Take the lease to an attorney and have your potential liability estimated. Once you signed the renewal it became you, not the landlord's problem.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/22/2014
Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
The landlord must use his best efforts to mitigate his damages by re-letting the premises. You are responsible for the lost rent for the unused term of the lease less what the landlord is able to recoup from a third party. Note that if the landlord can't find someone for full value, you are liable for the difference.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/22/2014
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
Since the landlord agreed to "work with you" he/she has an obligation to do so, but that is a very vague phrase and does not indicate how much the landlord has to do. The owner may take the position that not opposition your finding a new, creditworthy replacement tenant is all they agreed to. You have to assume that not much help will come from him/her and do all the work yourself. Send an e-mail to the owner saying they agreed to your ending the lease early if you could find a replacement tenant and that they agreed to help and could they do more; put in the letter that you assume if they do not respond to the negative that they agree with what is said.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/22/2014
    Harper Law Offices, Inc. P.S.
    Harper Law Offices, Inc. P.S. | Joseph T. G. Harper
    In Washington, if you breach your lease, the landlord has a duty to mitigate damages. This means they must try to re-rent as soon as they can. Sometimes this is difficult if the unit if occupied. Landlord's must give you notice to show the property, and sometimes it is easier to wait for the tenant to move out. The efforts to re-rent must be reasonable too. If there is an ad placed for the premises, that is reasonable but may not look like much to you. The landlord does not have to actually mitigate damages until you do breach, however. Keep that in mind. If you do break your lease, you would be liable for the rent due for the remainder of the lease term, subject to the landlord's mitigation efforts. If you have 3 months left, for example, and the landlord get's someone in after one month, then you are only liable for the one month. If the landlord cannot get anyone in for the remaining 3 months, then you will be liable for those 3 months. You should strongly consider speaking with an attorney about this matter and seeing if you can negotiate something with your landlord to minimize the potential damages here and perhaps get a release of claim or other settlement in place.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/22/2014
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    Verbal agreements are difficult to enforce where there is a written lease that contradicts it. The damages you are likely to be held liable for is the rent for the remainder of the term of the lease. In the circumstances you describe a landlord is under a duty to mitigate your damages, which means re-renting the property. Does he have other vacant properties that he can rent first? If that is the case he may say he cannot rent it. Your options are to go forward and let the landlord try to re-rent it (and pay the rent due until it is re-rented) or try to sublease. Then your sub-tenant can enter into a new lease after your lease is up.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/22/2014
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    If the landlord can't find a replacement tenant, he could sue you for the entire amount of lost rent. Or, if the landlord can only find a replacement tenant who pays less than you are paying, the landlord could sue you for the difference. But, that does not mean that the landlord would get everything it wants because it has a duty to mitigate, or minimize, its damages as much as possible. That means that the landlord would need to show its efforts to find a replacement tenant. If the landlord sues you, you would want to look into how much effort the landlord made to find a replacement tenant. Additionally, you could bring up the landlord's oral promise to 'work with' you on finding new tenants. You will need to establish what exactly that meant to you, and how the landlord breached that agreement. Obviously, the best thing would be for you or the landlord to find a good replacement tenant who will pay at least as much as you are paying.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/22/2014
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