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Is it possible to file a declaratory of relief in California myself to request the judge to void/terminate my apartment lease?

Irvine, CA |

I signed a lease with a roommate I found on craigslist. After 2 -3 mths we did not get along and had major conflict issues. I discussed with the apartment management (Irvine Company) what we could do to break the lease earlier than expected. They suggest I find someone to replace. I found someone to replace my lease but the person could not pay rent on time then requested to be removed from the lease. The management suggest I release the apartment to them and fill the place for me since I had already moved out. The apartment still has not filled it and for the first 30 days did not post on their site it was available. They are coming after me to pay rent in which my income does not qualify for the apartment.

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Attorney answers 2


No, it would not be appropriate to file a complaint for declaratory relief under such circumstances.

Unless you obtain a release from the landlord, you are jointly and severally liable for future rent due under the lease for the remaining duration of the lease.

You might have a claim for indemnity and contribution from your former roommate for any liability use sustained as a result of the early lease termination.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.


I agree with Mr. Chen.

You are responsible to the Irvine Company under the lease agreement that you signed. Unless the Irvine Company decides to release you from any liability, they can claim any unpaid rent from you.

However, the Irvine Company cannot recover damages which through the use of reasonable care and efforts could have been avoided. For example, if you had 9 months left on the lease and through reasonable efforts the Irvine Company re-rented the unit after 2 months, then you'd be liable only for the 2 months in which the Irvine Company was actually out rent.

The Irvine Company has to make a reasonable effort to re-rent the unit. If it makes such efforts but is simply unable to re-rent the unit then you are liable for the entire amount.

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and I. I am not your lawyer and I am not representing you in the underlying issue stated in your question. The response I have offered is not intended to be relied upon, you should seek out an attorney to assist in this matter.

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