Thank you for your kind patience, Randy,
A signed lease is a binding and legally enforceable contract and if either party does not perform their obligations under the lease, the aggrieved party can sue for breach of contract.
You can sue the tenant for breach of contract. Technically, you can sue the tenant for the amount of rent that you would have collected over the term of the lease which you said was one year. But, the law qualifies your right to receive the full amount of rent for the year by applying the legal principle of "Mitigation of Damages". The law requires the landlord to "mitigate his damages" by making every attempt to find another tenant and take the same steps he took to find this tenant. For example, the law would require the landlord to place an ad in the classified section of the local paper, list the property for rent with a real estate office, post a "For Rent" sign somewhere on the property, post a notice on the bulleting board of the local supermarkets, etc. In other words, the law wants to compensate the landlord, but at the same time will not allow the landlord to it back and do nothing and collect the year's rent from the tenant he sued.
You have the right to sue the tenant, but when you attend the hearing, bring with you whatever proof you have and what steps you took to mitigate your damages, such as receipts for placing ads in the classifieds, and everything I mentioned before.
The Defendant should not have left you "high and dry" like that and the law imposes on him the obligation to find a tenant for the landlord if she is breaching his lease. So, when the Defendant appears in Court and has nothing to tell the Judge as to why she breached the lease she signed with you, she was not moving "closer to her job", she paid you nothing, she made no attempts to find you a tenant, etc. When the Judge hears your side of the story and hears that the tenant did nothing to help you find a tenant, the Judge will pretty much give you what you ask for in the way of relief against the Defendant,
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