Citation. 74 N.J. 446, 378 A.2d 767 (1977)
Brief Fact Summary. Landlord sues for rent for the entire period of the lease when tenant vacated apartment prior to expiration of the lease.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A landlord has a duty to mitigate damages by attempting to re-let an apartment vacated by a tenant at fair market value.
Facts. The Defendant, Kridel (Defendant) signed a two-year lease for an apartment owned by the Plaintiff, Sommer (Plaintiff). The Defendant paid the security deposit and first month’s rent. Prior to even obtaining the keys to the apartment, the Defendant broke off his engagement, became a student and attempted to terminate the lease by letter to the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff did not attempt to re-let the apartment until months later. Plaintiff sued the Defendant for the full amount due under the two-year lease. The trial court found that the Plaintiff had a duty to mitigate by attempting to re-let the premises. The appellate court reversed and the Defendant appealed.
Issue. Whether a landlord seeking damages from a defaulting tenant has a duty to mitigate damages by making reasonable efforts to re-let an apartment wrongfully vacated by a tenant.