Yes, he is indeed liable for the term of the lease period. That's what a lease means. He should talk to the landlord to see if they'd allow him to find someone to sublet (that is, to take his space when he goes).
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I would agree with Mr. Bodzin, but also look for lease termination clause in the lease. If there is one, no matter what it says, the cost to get out of the lease cannot exceed one-and-one-half months' rent. ORS 90.302(2)(e).
Also, if the space is rented after your son departs, the landlord cannot collect additional rent. Also, if the landlord doesn't attempt to rent the property (e.g., he or she sells it or just leaves it empty) your son is not liable for the rent. ORS 90.410.
Lastly, landlords are people, so you can sometimes work something else out with them. Talk first and see whether something can be worked out. If the landlord refuses to budge, it will likely be worth talking to an attorney.
Otherwise, as stated, a lease is a contract and a promise that you cannot just walk away from because of a change in circumstance.
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If your son signed the lease, he is now on the hook for the remainder of that lease. The landlord may be willing to let him out of the lease for a payment of some sort, or if your son can locate another suitable tenant. But, barring the landlord's agreement to the contrary, the written lease will be what controls the relationship.