State Laws on 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

X1

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 34.03.230(c)

X

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1370

X

Arkansas

Grayson v. Mixon, 5 S.W.2d 312 (Ark. 1928)

X

California

Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1951.2, 1951.4

X

X2

Colorado

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

X3

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 47a-11a

X

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 25, § 5507(d)(2)

X

District of

Columbia

D.C. Code Ann. § 42-3505.52

X

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.595

X4

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. § 44-7-34; Peterson v. Midas Realty Corp., 287 S.E.2d 61 (Ga. Ct. App. 1981)

X

X5

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 521-70(d)

X6

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; Easterling v. Halter Marine, Inc., 470 So.2d 221 (La. Ct. App. 1985); Gray v. Kanavel, 508 So.2d 970 (La. Ct. App. 1987)

X

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

X

X7

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)

X8

Missouri

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

X9

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

N.Y. Real Prop Law § 227-e

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)

X10

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.

X11

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-507(c)

X12

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. § 55.1-1251

X

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 59.18.310, 59.18,595

X13

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 Landlord can prioritize renting other vacant units first. (Alabama)

2 Landlord must make reasonable efforts to rerent. However, landlord may keep the lease in effect and recover rent as it becomes due if landlord has not retaken possession, and the lease states that the tenant has the right to sublet or assign, subject only to landlord's reasonable limitations. (California)

3 Case law favors mitigation. (Colorado)

4 Landlord has the option of rerenting, standing by and doing nothing (tenant remains liable for rent as it comes due), or invoking its right to a liquidated damages, or early termination, provision. 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. Liquidated damages provision must substantially include specified language in Fl. Stat. Ann. § 83.595. (Florida)

5 Ga. Code Ann. § 44-7-34 states that nothing precludes landlords from retaining the security deposit for rent and other damages provided the landlord attempts to mitigate the actual damages. However, a Georgia court has held that a landlord could keep the rental vacant and sue for rent as it becomes due in spite of this statute. (Kimber v. Towne Hills Dev. Co., 274 S.E.2d 620 (Ga. Ct. App. 1980).) (Georgia)

6 The statute implies that the landlord has a duty to rerent: When a tenant breaks the lease, the landlord is entitled to the lesser of (1) the entire rent due for the remainder of the term or (2) the amount of rent accrued during the period reasonably necessary to rerent at a fair rent plus the difference between fair rent and the rent under the lease, as well as a commission for the renting of the unit. The landlord is entitled to the lesser of these two even if the landlord doesn't actually rerent the unit. (Hawaii)

7 Although case law seems to accept a duty to mitigate, there is no definitive statement of the law and the issue remains unsettled. (Massachusetts)

8 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)

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

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

11 It is likely that a S.D. court would require a landlord to mitigate damages. The S.D. Supreme Court has found that "[t]he breaching party has the burden of proving damages would have been lessened by the exercise of reasonable diligence on the part of the non-breaching party." Ducheneaux v. Miller, 488 N.W.2d 902, 918 (S.D. Sup. Ct. 1992). (South Dakota)

12 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)

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

Updated: September 2020

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