If I gave 90 days notice I am moving, am I responsible for remaining lease?

01/09/2007 - Category:Landlord Tenant - Lease Termination - State: MN #250

Full Question:

I have lived in my current rental house for three years. I have six months left on the lease. I gave landlord 90 days notice that I am moving as I have purchased a house. Can I be held liable for the remaining three months?

Answer:

The relationship of landlord and tenant is created by contract, and the terms of the contract (lease) determine the rights of the landlord and tenant on termination.

If the tenant leaves the premises before the expiration of the lease, is the landlord under an obligation to rent the premises again in order to reduce the rent for which the tenant would be liable? By the common law and majority rule, there is no duty on the landlord to seek to find a new tenant for the premises. However, a growing minority view places greater emphasis on the contractual aspects of the lease so that, when the tenant breaks the contract, the landlord is under the duty to seek to mitigate the damages caused by the tenant's breach and must make a reasonable effort to rent the abandoned property.

Minnesota seems to follow the theory of C"b,Eavoidable consequences. Under this legal doctrine, a plaintiff with an otherwise valid claim is denied recovery if he failed to mitigate the consequences of a known wrong. But the breaching party has the burden of showing that damages could have been mitigated with reasonable diligence. If the district court decides that the plaintiff has made reasonable efforts to minimize the breaching party's damages, the amount will not be limited by the doctrine of avoidable consequences.



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01/09/2007 - Category: Lease Termination - State: MN #250

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