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 Avvo.com 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.