Yes, California landlords are supposed to to mitigate damages if you move out before your lease is up. Civil Code 1951.2 says that your landlord cannot require you to cover unpaid rent that could have been reasonably mitigated by re-renting the property.
Here's an example: If there are six months left on your lease and your rent is $2,000 per month, your landlord can only charge you for the time that the unit stayed vacant. They must do exactly what they would do normally to find a new renter. This includes advertising and showing the listing and making their best effort to find a new tenant.
If they can’t find a new tenant—even though they tried their hardest to find one—then you will be responsible for the rent due for the remainder of your lease. They would first deduct from your security deposit, and then they could take you to small claims court to get the rest of the unpaid rent.
As a tenant, this uncertainty can be concerning. You can also try and locate a replacement tenant on your own. Your landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent for a lease assigment, and they need to have a valid reason for refusal. What is considered reasonable varies. Generally, a landlord can only deny a lease assignment if you didn’t follow the proper procedure for requesting permission, or if the proposed assignee is unqualified.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.