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Sommer v. Kridel

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 74 N.J. 446, 378 A.2d 767 (1977)

Brief Fact Summary. Two parties enter into a lease, but the tenant decided not to occupy the premises and attempted to break the lease.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. In a residential lease, a landlord has a duty to mitigate damages when he seeks to recover past due rent from a defaulting tenant.

Facts. James Kridel (Defendant) entered into a two-year lease with Abraham Sommer (Plaintiff), the owner of an apartment building. Defendant wrote Plaintiff a letter stating that he could not take the apartment and asked to be released from the lease. Plaintiff did not respond. A third party was ready, willing and able to rent the apartment, but was told the apartment was being rented to someone else. Plaintiff sued Defendant for the total amount due under the two-year lease. Defendant claimed Plaintiff breached the contract, failed to mitigate damages, and accepted Defendant’s surrender of the premises. The trial court found for Defendant.

Issue. In a residential lease, does a landlord have to duty to mitigate damages when the tenant defaults on payment?

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