Kansas City, MO asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Texas

Q: I have a lease with 2 other people joint and severely. 1 roommate left with little to no notice.

The landlord doesn’t care and me and the other Roomate and I are stuck paying the full amount. In turn we have offered/asked to break the lease in various ways. The only way he will allow us to break the lease is if we put it online like zillow handle the showings and bring him applications. Are there any other options we have to break this lease because it seems he is failing to meet his duty to mitigate.

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The landlord has no duty to mitigate as there has been no breach of the lease. When you sign a lease with other people jointly and severally, that means that each tenant is independently responsible to pay the landlord the full amount of rent owed, and the tenants will work out among themselves how to allocate responsibility among themselves for making that payment. As long as your roommate and you continue to pay the rent as agreed, there has been no breach of the lease agreement and the landlord has no obligation to mitigate his damages.

If you and your roommate were to breach the lease, your landlord would be required to mitigate his damages by trying to relet the premises. Any expense he incurs in trying to mitigate the damages would be deducted from any rent collected from any new tenant before deducting what remains from the amount of rent you and your roommate owe under the lease agreement. Given how tight the housing market is right now, I would not recommend breaching the lease because many landlords use services to check whether applicants have previously breached a lease and wisely will not rent to those applicants. So, unless you are planning to buy a place to live, breaching could hinder your future rental options for a few years.

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