Landlord Has No Duty To Mitigate

The tenant vacated his apartment before the lease expired and stopped paying rent. The landlord unsuccessfully tried re-renting the apartment and decided to sell the unit, keeping it vacant to make it more marketable. The landlord later sued the tenant for the unpaid rent for the entire lease term.
Landlords no longer have a duty to re-rent residential properties if the tenant breaks the lease, ruled the New York Appellate Division, Second Department. In Rios v Carrillo the court extended to residential tenancies a prior decision by the New York Court of Appeals, holding that commercial landlords did not have to mitigate damages — unless the lease stated otherwise. When a commercial tenant defaulted, the landlord had no duty to try to re-let the property, but could sue the defaulting tenant for the total rents due under the lease term.
ADVICE TO TENANTS: If you plan to vacate your apartment before the end of the lease term, you should attempt to find subtenants or ask your landlord to help you find a new tenant. Landlords of buildings with four or more units can not unreasonably withhold their consent to subletting or assignment of the lease.
ADVICE TO LANDLORDS: It’s still advisable to include a provision in residential and commercial leases that the landlord has no duty to mitigate and a defaulting tenant will be held liable for the rent for the entire term of the lease. Even though landlords do not have an obligation to mitigate, they should still attempt to re-rent the apartment because most judgments against tenants for unpaid rent are uncollectible.
Other states, such as Connecticut and New Jersey impose a duty to mitigate on residential landlords.

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