Had to break lease - Mgt found new tenant, but...
I had to break the lease on an apartment I was in for about 2 months, informed the manager. Terms of the lease are that rent is paid by current tenant until a new tenant is found and approved by mgt. About early to mid September, she found a couple to take the place. I was looking for a new place for myself, and told her I could move into a new place on Oct 1, but not earlier, was the couple flexible. The couple agreed to start their lease for Oct 5, and manager asked me to pay rent for Oct 1-4 only. I paid it, moved out on Oct 1 into my new apt.
Manager called me Oct 6 and told me couple had backed out. I was shocked- asked how was this possible, hadn't they signed a lease? She told me she had not signed them to a lease, had an appointment with them that morning to sign lease, hand over keys, etc, but they left her a message saying they would not take the apt. She had only collected a $500 holding deposit, not a full one. She said typically, she always did the lease signing, key handover, deposit and rental collection all at once, this is why she did not do it earlier.
I explained my situation, that she had never informed me that a lease was not signed (and therefore I was potentially still responsible for Oct rent until one was), and all of our conversations indicated that one was. I made my Oct budget thinking that I would not have to pay rent on old apt. I have family living nearby, and might have otherwise chosen to put stuff in storage and live with them until out of the lease. I pointed out that it was unfair that now I might have to pay rent on two apartments (I live in LA, very expensive), because she had not given me the proper information to make a decision on whether to stay with family or go into a new apt, and asked if she would be willing to split the remainder of the month's rent with me. She did not sound like she wanted to do that.
Any thoughts... do you think I have any legal recourse here? I have spoken to a lawyer (a criminal prosecutor, so not completely familiar with real estate/leases), who (as far as she can recall from law school) thinks that the terms of the lease is the binding agreement, and that there is nothing I can do, except appeal to the manager's sense of fairness. Which I have, and she doesn't seem to have a sense of it.