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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 29802
Experience:  Lawyer
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I am being sued by a previous landlord and damages of lease

Customer Question

I am being sued by a previous landlord for rent and damages for breach of lease for vacating early. My understanding is that in Wisconsin the landlord has a duty to mitigate damages by attempting to re-rent the unit and bears the responsibility to provide evidence that they made reasonable effort to mitigate the damages. I have correspondence with the landlord that they did not attempt to show the unit for over a month and perhaps longer from my move-out notice. There was a waiting list for my unit and they denied my offer to provide a new tenant ( I had a couple of personal friends/potential tenants that wanted to rent my unit). The landlord stated that due to fair housing law they could not skip anyone that was on the wait-list. I followed up with the landlord via email and phone calls to inquire on the progress they had made for showing the unit and they either did not respond or told me they had not started to show the unit yet. I have to appear in court tomorrow and was inquiring as to if a lawyer has any legal insight on how a judge might rule in this case. I am planning to stick to my argument that since the landlord did not make reasonable effort to mitigate damages by timely showings of the unit that they are not entitled to collect past due rent from me. Thank you, Cassie
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Cassie,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that you're getting sued.

You're right that the landlord has to mitigate his damages. Also, if the landlord refused to accept your subtenant unreasonably, that cuts off your liability under the lease. If you could bring one of your friends to testify that they were ready, willing, and able to take over the lease, that could help. This is true even if your lease prohibits subtenants - because of the obligation to mitigate, they can't just randomly decide they don't want you to help find someone. It's fine if they want to use the waiting list they have, but then they can't charge you for the time the place is empty because that's their choice.

As long as you have evidence that there's a waiting list or that you had other tenants willing to move in, there's a good chance the judge will rule in your favor. Good luck.

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Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Do you have any more questions about this?