Q: My wife and I bought a house after signing a lease a few months ago. We understand that we're responsible for the rent until the landlord gets new tenants. He took a security deposit from a prospective renter, but then the renter backed out and the landlord returned the deposit. Are we still on the hook for the rent? --Jeff C A: Renters in most states will be in the same boat as you when they leave a lease midterm, without a legally recognized reason for breaking the lease. The landlord must take reasonable steps to rerent the property. Once the landlord finds a new tenant, the original tenant bears no further responsibility for rent (this is known as the "mitigation of damages" rule). In soft markets, where the property can't be rented easily, tenants could conceivably remain responsible for the entire term. If the landlord has been able to rerent only after dropping the rent, the original tenant can also be responsible for the difference between the original...
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