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).

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