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Suppose someone signs a lease for a year and moves out after a month. Should a landlord be able to keep the place vacant and charge the tenant for a twelve months rent?

It depends on what is written in the lease and what the local/state law says. I have seen people be held responsible -- by law -- for a full remaining lease.* In that case, fortunately, the new employer paid the lease release costs.

So until the tenant has a copy of the lease and has reviewed his local/state rental laws, then all of the advice people are giving for this is purely speculation and may not apply to the specific situation.

*I have since seeing this always had a 60-day notice clause put in my leases such that if I have to move due to job reasons (transfer, new job) that I can give a 60 day notice and be released from a lease. Some landlords balk at this but for me it is not optional. I have had to invoke it once and did so with no problem; that was in a state where the departing tenant is responsible for the entire term of the lease and the landlord did not have a responsibility to re-let the place.
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