I am a resident of California, and i decided to terminate my condo lease early by 2 months as i decided to purchase a new house. I provided the property management company with a 30 day notice and have been very accommodating for all the prospective tenants showings. I left the house in mint condition. It has been 45 days since I provided the notice and the property management company has not been able to find anyone to re-rent the property even though it is a very desirable area. My main concern is that the owners have decided to raise the rent by $150 and have been marketing the property at a higher rent than i am currently paying. The property management company has informed me if the property does not get rented by end of this month i will be responsible for the last month of rent. I feel the owners are "testing the market" by raising the rent and have no intention to rent out the property as they know i will be liable for the rent until the end of next month. Can you please advise if they can actual raise the rent this way ? I have attempted to reach out to the property management company multiple time raising the concern that the rent is too high with no response back from them. I even offered to pay for some incentive in order to get the property rented but again no response. Please help !
State/Country relating to question: California
Reaching out to the property management company multiple times
Hello, and thank you for entrusting us with this important question.The law in California provides as follows. Once you leave the condo unit, you have breached the lease and the landlord can hold you responsible for rent through the rest of the rental period. Subject to a big HOWEVER, which I will explain below.Even though you have technically breached the lease by leaving early, the property manager *acting as agent for the owner/landlord) has a duty to mitigate damages. That means that the landlord can't sit idly by and leave the apartment vacant. The landlord must take proactive measures to minimize the damages, so that you will be relieved of some of the responsibilities of the rent for the remainder of the lease period.What the landlord has done here is attempt to raise the rent. If this went to a court, the court would most likely view this as a failure of the landlord to mitigate damages to you. In fact, the landlord is operating in a very opportunistic way, and doing just the opposite of mitigating damages.In fact, the landlord should try to rent the condo for $150 LESS than what you were paying, if they were really genuine about mitigating damages. Then they would have a claim on you for the $150 less per month that they were taking in as rent, but that is all. In fact, if it went to court, and they got any offer to rent the condo from a reliable and safe tenant, the landlord would be obligated to take that offer and charge you with only the small, if any, shortfall. Here, a court would find for you if you can show that the landlord could reasonably have rented out the place and failed to do so.As I mentioned, you could show this by the existence of offers to rent your unit, by a history of other units in the area renting during the time after you left and by showing that the landlord did not act reasonably here.I believe that a court would find in your favor, and award you attorneys fees and costs, if this dispute were to go to court. Therefore, you are on solid ground by demanding that the landlord not charge you for any rent after you left the premises and refund your security deposit in full.I would notify the landlord now in writing that it is their legal obligation to accept any rental offer from any reasonably safe tenant. Put it in writing so that when you go to court, if you have to, you have documentation of your position before the last month of the lease began.Good luck to you. I wish you all the best.
Experienced real estate lawyer and real estate broker.
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