It's quite common that plans change, and a residential lease must be broken.

Of course, since one has agreed to pay the full price of the lease, they're on the hook for it, unless they can find someone else to help them mitigate the damages.

However, the sublessee might only be interested in taking over a certain part of the lease (e.g., say, month 5, 6, 7 and 8 of a 12-month lease), and would not be interested in taking over the whole lease, thus having to find another lessee for months 9 to 12.

Does the landlord have the right to refuse to mitigate tenant's damages to accommodate such an arrangement? In my experience, the corporate landlords always simply say "we don't do subleasing, you can only take over the whole lease [and then deal with re-leasing]". But doesn't this violate the provision about damage mitigation?


Sec. 91.006. LANDLORD'S DUTY TO MITIGATE DAMAGES. (a) A landlord has a duty to mitigate damages if a tenant abandons the leased premises in violation of the lease.

(b) A provision of a lease that purports to waive a right or to exempt a landlord from a liability or duty under this section is void.

I was reading on UniformLaws.org that in certain situations and/or states, landlord's failure to mitigate damages is automatically grounds for contract termination (thus no rent or damages are further due), does it at all apply here?

IV. What Are the Consequences of Landlord’s Failure to Mitigate?

Jurisdictions have taken one of two approaches in handling the landlord’s failure to comply with the duty to mitigate. The current version of the URLTA provides that if the landlord fails to use reasonable efforts to mitigate, “the rental agreement is deemed to be terminated by the landlord as of the date the landlord has notice of the abandonment.” In effect, this provision precludes the landlord from recovering any damages past the date of the abandonment. About half of the jurisdictions that have URLTA-based statutes (AK, AZ, CT, IA, KS, KY, MT, OK, OR, RI, SC) have retained this provision in their statutes, while the other half (AL, FL, HI, MI, MS, NE, MN, TN, VA, WA) have omitted it. Nevada has a similar provision in its non-URLTA statute.

If you're the original tenant, what recourse can you take?

If you're a prospective sublessee, is the landlord at all obligated to put you in contact with the original tenant for you to potentially inform the original tenant of their rights, and, potentially, see if they're interested for a sublease instead? Anything else that can be done if you're already in contact with the original tenant?

  • 2
    You've tagged this post "Texas"; could you clarify the jurisdictional scope in the question and title itself? You're also asking a bunch of different questions. The core questions seem to be: Is a lease provision prohibiting subleasing enforceable under Texas law? If so, what damages might the tenant and subtenant be liable for? Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 3:11
  • @ChristianConkle, as far as tagging it in the title, I think that'll be premature, since it'll be interesting to know the overall stance on the issue, too. Things like this are generally not specified in state law, so, it'll be case law that'll likely have the effect here.
    – cnst
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 15:26
  • My point is that there are half a dozen questions here. The title asks whether a landlord can prohibit subleasing; Tex. Prop. Code § 91.005 answers that question by requiring the landlord's consent to a sublease. See also Twelve Oaks Tower I, Ltd. v. Premier Allergy, Inc., 938 S.W.2d 102, 111–12 (Tex. App. 1996). The body of the question states a variety of issues regarding partial subleases, mitigation of damages, and relations between landlord and subtenant, which are rather different. Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 15:40
  • @ChristianConkle, well, Twelve Oaks Tower I, Ltd. v. Premier Allergy, Inc is an interesting case, of course, but, after reading it, it's not really related -- most of its narrative is about lease re-assignment, not about subleasing, and mitigated damages aren't touched even once (plus, it's a commercial lease).
    – cnst
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 18:07
  • @ChristianConkle, i've asked a question on meta in regards to putting states in the title -- meta.law.stackexchange.com/questions/63/…
    – cnst
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


Landlord-tenant law is an area that is heavily statute-based, jurisdiction-dependent, and far from uniform across the country. A complex, specific, multi-part question like this one is not going to get a simple answer.

In general, though, I can clear up some of the confusion with a quick example.

Let's say you abandon your lease, but as you do so, you write a letter to the landlord saying: "While I won't be living there any more, my friend's band needs a place to practice. They have agreed to pay half my rent if you let them play there 4 nights a week. They'll be starting on Tuesday at 11 PM: please have a set of keys waiting for them at the front desk."

The landlord does not give your friends the keys. They re-key and clean the apartment and rent it two months later.

Are you going to stand up in court and argue, with a straight face, that you should only be liable for half the rent for those two months because of the landlord's "failure to mitigate"?

Again, jurisdictions differ, but the duty to mitigate is not absolute. If the landlord could rent out a $1,000/month apartment for $5 a month, it doesn't have to do that, and you can't make the Court take $5 a month off their damages if they refuse to do so.

Also, you seem to be confused about what subleasing is. A sublessor owes duties to you; you still owe the duty to your landlord to get the rent paid. A sublease is an agreement between you and a third party to pay you rent. It does not affect your relationship with the landlord at all, unless it's a breach of your agreement with the landlord or of local law protecting the landlord from unauthorized subleasing.

  • 1
    Yes, it's understood that the replacement tenant should be equitable and otherwise eligible under the original lease similarly to the original tenant. State law prohibits subleasing without landlord's consent, which makes perfect sense as per the above point. However, subleasing is also prohibited by most agreements, and only lease reassignment is generally offered, but then this does seem to be quite in violation of the damage mitigation statutes as per the specific example in the original question.
    – cnst
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 16:27
  • I personally would be able to argue it, because I would have expected to have to pay the other half for awhile.
    – Joshua
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 1:30
  • @chapka, hmm I did not read the OP as assuming the sublease was between the sublessor and landlord, I assumed he was asking why do Texas landlords put a clause in their lease saying I will fine you if you sublet this place. I took it as the OP saying, what does the landlord care if I sublet as long as they get their money? I was looking forward to reading an answer to that tone of the question.
    – Daniel
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 13:23

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