This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts from January 2012.
January 30, 2012
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We will discuss the commercial landlord's duty to mitigate damages after a default by tenant in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland.  First, Washington, D.C. is as follows.

January 10, 2012
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A Landlord’s Duty to Mitigate in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia


Under common law, a landlord had no duty to accept or procure a new tenant in order to mitigate damages (i.e., take reasonable action to avoid additional injury or loss) resulting from a tenant's breach of a lease, including with respect to an abandonment or refusal to occupy its premises. The rationale for this traditional view arose from the characterization of a lease as a conveyance of a real property interest, and not as a contract. In recent years, many states have enacted statutes applicable to residential landlords that impose a duty to mitigate damages.   There is no clear consistency, however, in the law regarding a commercial landlord's duty to mitigate damages. The modem trend, followed in approximately half of the states, is to require commercial landlords to mitigate damages. This modern view characterizes the lease as a contract rather than a conveyance of real estate, and it is an established principle of contract law that parties to an agreement have a duty to mitigate their damages. There are certain exceptions to the historical common law view that a landlord has no duty to mitigate, which in different variations, are currently recognized by some of the "traditional view" states. One exception imposes a duty to mitigate once the landlord re-enters the premises following an abandonment by the tenant. There are different standards as to what constitutes re-entry. For example, merely accepting the keys to the premises or keeping the premises in good repair would not typically be considered a re-entry. A second exception imposes a duty to mitigate on a landlord if the lease contains the common "re-entry clause," which permits the re-entry of the premises following abandonment of the premises by the tenant. The District of Columbia, as discussed below, is among the jurisdictions that follow this exception.