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Landlord tries to mitigate damages

Davis, CA |

Five tenants entered into a lease for a house. Mid lease one tenant just moved out. I stepped in to mitigate damages and found a new tenant. This new person stayed three months and also moved out, breaching his lease. I found a new person, and moved him in. He lasted 15 days before moving out, again breaching his lease. The two subsequent leases were written with the same ending date and terms as the original lease.

As I understand it, the original five tenants (four of whom are still there) are liable for the entire lease term, and the two replacement tenants are also responsible for the duration of their leases. The original tenant was paying $600 monthly. Replacement #1 committed to pay only $550, with the original tenant paying the $50 monthly shortage. Replacement #1 agr

eed to pay only $475, leaving a monthly shortage of $125 between his rent and what the original tenant had been paying. My plan was to collect whatever rent I could until the lease ends, then tally up any shortages and ask the original tenant to cover it. Here is my question: Am I under any obligation to inform the original tenant that two replacement tenants have come and gone, and that the $50 she had been paying is insufficient to pay the full contracted rent? Remember, she breached the lease by vacating and did not find a replacement. I did that myself, as part of my duty to mitigate damages. At no time did I guarantee her that Replacement #1 was going to stay for the duration of the lease. I’m doing the best I can, and if one or more replacement tenants for her spot also breach their lease, the original is still liable, right? Just want to make sure I have the correct understanding. Thanks.

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Attorney answers 1


Were the 5 original tenants all signatories to the same lease? If yes, they are jointly & severally liable to all terms of the lease including ensuring full rent payment is made every month. When Tenant A skipped out, Tenants B-E were responsible for ensuring full rent payment continued to be paid. You did not have to find a replacement tenant.

Did the subsequent leases include Tenants B-E? If yes, each subsequent lease superceded the previous leases. You should consult with a local attorney for more guidance.



thanks, Mr. Bernabe. Only the new tenants signed the subsequent lease, so in effect I think I have a total of 5 tenants liable for rent: the original 5, plus two new ones. Agree?