Landlord's Duty to Rerent When a Tenant Breaks a Lease

Find out which states require landlords to take reasonable efforts to rerent a rental property when tenants leave before their lease ends.

A lease covers a fixed period of time (called the "term") and obligates the tenant to pay rent until the lease ends. Some states allow tenants to break a lease and leave early without penalty under certain circumstances, such as leaving a domestic violence situation, or entering military service. And many states require landlords to take reasonable efforts find a new tenant (to rerent), rather than simply do nothing and expect the vacating tenant to pay rent through the end of the lease term. A landlord's responsibility to rerent is also known as the duty to mitigate damages. This chart provides some basic information on state laws on the subject. Read your state statute (or relevant court case) for the specific rules in your state. The citation is provided here, and you can visit the Library of Congress's legal research site for links to state statutes and judicial decisions.

Landlord’s Duty to Rerent

State

Legal authority

Must make reasonable efforts to rerent

Has no duty to look for or rent to a new tenant

Law is unclear or courts are divided on the issue

Alabama

Ala. Code §§ 35-9A-105, 35-9A-423

X

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 34.03.230(c)

X

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1370

X

Arkansas

Weingarten/Arkansas, Inc. v. ABC Interstate Theatres, Inc., 811 S.W.2d 295 (Ark. 1991)

X

California

Cal. Civ. Code § 1951.2

X

Colorado

Schneiker v. Gordon, 732 P.2d 603 (Colo. 1987)

X

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 47a-11a

X

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 25, § 5507(d)(2)

X

District of

Columbia

Intl Comm’n on English Liturgy v. Schwartz, 573 A.2d 1303 (D.C. 1990)

X1

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.595

X2

Georgia

Peterson v. Midas Realty Corp., 287 S.E.2d 61 (Ga. Ct. App. 1981)

X

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 521-70 (d)

X

Idaho

Consol. Ag v. Rangen, Inc., 128 Idaho 228 (Idaho 1996)

X

Illinois

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/9-213.1

X

Indiana

Nylen v. Park Doral Apartments, 535 N.E.2d. 178 (Ind. Ct. App. 1989)

X

Iowa

Iowa Code § 562A.29 (3)

X

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 58-2565(c)

X

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.670

X

Louisiana

La. Civ. Code Ann. Art. 2002; Gray v. Kanavel, 508 So.2d 970 (La. Ct. App. 1987)

X3

X

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 6010-A

X

Maryland

Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.], § 8-207

X

Massachusetts

Edmands v. Rust & Richardson Drug Co., 191 Mass. 123, 128 (1906) and assorted other cases

MA Dep't of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation says LL has a duty to mitigate: www.mass.gov/ocabr/docs/landlordrights.pdf. But the Supreme Court has not yet ruled definitively.

X

X

Michigan

Fox v. Roethlisberger, 85 N.W.2d 73 (Mich. 1957)

X

Minnesota

Control Data Corp. v. Metro Office Parks Co., 296 Minn. 302 (Minn. 1973)

X

Mississippi

Alsup v. Banks, 9 So. 895 (Miss. 1891)

X4

Missouri

Rhoden Inv. Co. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 499 S.W.2d 375 (Mo. 1973); Mo. Rev. Stat. § 535.300

X5

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 70-24-426

X

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1432

X

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 118.175

X

New

Hampshire

Wen v. Arlens, Inc., 103 A.2d 86 (N.H. 1954); Modular Mfg., Inc. v. Dernham Co., 65 B.R. 856 (Bankr. D. N.H. 1986)

X

New Jersey

Sommer v. Kridel, 378 A.2d 767 (N.J. 1977)

X

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 47-8-6

X

New York

Rios v. Carrillo, 53 AD3d 111, 115 (2nd Dept., 2008); Gordon v. Raymond Eshaghoff, 60 AD3d 807, 2009 WL 711546 (2nd Dept., decided March 17, 2009) and Smith v. James, 22 Misc. 3d 128(A) (Supreme Court, Appellate Term, 9th & 10th Dist., 2009)

X

North Carolina

Isbey v. Crews, 284 S.E.2d 534 (N.C. Ct. App. 1981)

X

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 47-16-13.5

X

Ohio

Stern v. Taft, 361 N.E.2d 279 (Ct. App. 1976)

X6

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 41, § 129

X

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 90.410

X

Pennsylvania

Stonehedge Square Ltd. P’ship v. Movie Merchs., 715 A.2d 1082 (Pa. 1998)

X

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-18-40

X

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-730 (c)

X

South Dakota

No cases or statutes in South Dakota discuss this issue.

X

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-507 (c)

X7

Texas

Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 91.006

X

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 78B-6-816; Reid v. Mutual of Omaha Ins. Co., 776 P.2d 896 (Utah 1989)

X

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 9, § 4462

X

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. §§ 55-248.33, 55-248.35

X

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.310

X8

West Virginia

W.Va. Code § 37-6-7; Teller v. McCoy, 253 S.E.2d 114 (W.Va. 1978)

X

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 704.29

X

Wyoming

Goodwin v. Upper Crust, Inc., 624 P.2d 1192 (1981)

X

1 Despite this legal authority, D.C. attorneys report that judges take failure to mitigate into consideration when ascertaining the landlord’s damages. (District of Columbia)

2 Landlords have the option to: rerent, stand by and do nothing (tenant remains liable for rent as it comes due), or invoke their rights under a liquidated damages provision in the lease. The latter remedy is available only if the lease includes a liquidated damages addendum, or addition, that provides for no more than two months’ damages and requires tenant to give no more than 60 days’ notice. Addendum must include language substantially similar to the language in Fl. Stat. Ann. § 83.595. (Florida)

3 Court decisions are uniform although more recent decisions appear to require mitigation. (Louisiana)

4 Many Miss. attorneys believe this old case is not sound authority, and that a trial judge would find a duty to mitigate in spite of it. (Mississippi)

5 Landlord must mitigate only if intending to use tenant’s security deposit to cover future unpaid rent. (Missouri)

6 Duty to mitigate applies in absence of any clause that purports to relieve the landlord of this duty (courts must enforce this clause). (Ohio)

7 Applies only to counties having a population of more than 75,000, according to the 2010 federal census or any subsequent federal census. (See Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-102.) (Tennessee)

8 Detailed procedures must be followed when premises are vacant due to tenant’s death. (See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.595.) (Washington)

Updated: November 2017

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