Hello my name is ***** ***** welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.
I am sorry you are dealing with this situation and I wish that I could provide a response that you are hoping to hear. However, a lease is based on contract law and the hard nosed approach by the landlord, while unreasonable, is legal. Typically what I suggest to landlords I represent in situations like this is to let the tenant know that all efforts will be made to lease the space before the 23rd and if we are successful then the deposit will be returned, if not we will deduct the amount for the loss in rent. That is a fair and reasonable approach but is not necessarily what the law says a landlord must do.
However, the one thing that the landlord is legally obligated to do in these situations is mitigate damages, that is find a tenant to rent the unit as soon as possible. State v. Boyle, 344 N.E.2d 302 (Ind. Ct. App. 1976) obligates the landlord to find a tenant. Therefore, if a tenant is found before the 23rd, you are correct there are no damages. Here is a cite to the case I referenced: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=5969313327675036249&q=State+v.+Boyle,+344+N.E.2d+302&hl=en&as_sdt=6,38
You may want to remind the landlord of this obligation and if they do not actively attempt to find a new tenant and you can prove they sat on their hands, you may be able to recover funds or defends against a claim of money owed to them.
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