Question: We own a Scottsdale condominium that is primarily a vacation rental. Our tenant signed a three month lease in December and paid all for the rent in advance. Now she wants to move out after one month because her mother in Canada is ill. We are sympathetic but we do not want to refund the remaining two months of rent to her unless we can find another tenant. What are our obligations as the landlord?
Answer: You have an obligation to make reasonable efforts to find a tenant for the remaining two months of the lease. Reasonable efforts could include newspaper advertisements and hiring a leasing agent. For example, if you find a tenant after two weeks of these efforts, you are required to refund the remaining six weeks of rent, minus the cost of newspaper advertisements or any commissions to a leasing agent. If the efforts are unsuccessful, you are entitled to keep the remaining two months of rent.