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Does My Landlord Have to Mitigate Damages?

In most of the U.S. a landlord is required to mitigate the damages caused by lost rent by accepting a new tenant or approving a sublet.

More than half of U.S. states have adopted statutes that require your landlord to mitigate damages if you move out before your lease is up. This includes: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A handful of other states have not explicitly adopted damage mitigation laws through their legislatures, but have enough precedent (previous court cases) to make it enforceable. These states include: Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, Colorado, Idaho, North Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming.

Four states—Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Georgia—have some precedent, but not enough to make the duty to mitigate unequivocal. You'll probably want to consult a local attorney or tenants' rights group if you plan to invoke damage mitigation in one of these jurisdictions.

In only six states do landlords have no duty to re-rent your unit at all: Arkansas, Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Although most places in the U.S. do require landlords to mitigate damages, the legal specifics vary between states. In many jurisdictions, it’s up to the tenant to prove the landlord wasn’t mitigating damages if the case goes to court; in a handful of others, it’s up to the landlord to prove they were. And what, exactly, counts as a “reasonable” effort to find a new renter depends largely on past court cases in each state. Choose your state from the dropdown menu at the top of this page to find out more about your landlord’s duty where you rent.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.