Q: I’m the owner of an apartment complex near a large hospital. The hospital regularly brings in traveling nurses, who stay for three months. The nurses work for an agency, and the agency provides housing for each nurse by renting an apartment from me. One of these nurses stayed for two weeks, then quit her job and left the state. I think I can look to the agency to make good on the rest of the rent, but they say that the tenant was the nurse, and that I’m limited to going after her. Who’s right? –Sandy H.

A: When a tenant breaks a lease without a legal justification, in most states she’s on the hook for the rent until the landlord, using reasonable efforts, re-rents the unit. If the market for units like this is reasonably hot, you should be able to fill this vacancy within a month or so, which would mean that you’d be entitled to compensation for that empty time. But if the market is soft, and you’re unable to secure a replacement, you could be entitled to the entire balance of the rent.

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