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August 01, 2017

When Can You Legally Break a Lease?

Category: Landlord Rights, Tenant Disputes | Tags: , ,

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Moving into a new apartment can be exciting, perhaps you’re moving into your first place or it seems like the coolest apartment or rental house out there. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances can cause you to need to terminate your lease early. It’s not as easy as it sounds. A lease is a legal contract, and you cannot just break it without any repercussions.

Can You Break Your Lease Early?

Tenant Obligations:

  • Pay rent on time;
  • Do not damage property or disturb other tenants;
  • Do not engage in or allow criminal activity on the premises;
  • Do not sublease the premises without landlord approval

Landlord Obligations:

  • Make property habitable before tenants move in and keep it habitable
  • Make repairs to premises
  • Never turn off tenant’s utilities
  • Give written notice if property ownership is transferred
  • No discrimination against prospective tenants

Landlord Must Be at Fault

A lease signed by both parties is a binding legal contract. If any party does not fulfill the terms of the lease, the person who defaults can be sued. Landlords are responsible for the tenants’ quiet enjoyment of the premises. Tenants are to pay rent on time and not damage the premises beyond normal wear and tear.
Under very limited circumstances would a tenant be in the right to break their lease. An example is a constructive eviction where the premises becomes uninhabitable due to a landlord’s neglect of his duties under the lease.  A proper lease protects both the landlord and tenant and sets out the duties of each under the lease.  But, the tenant’s failure to follow the lease terms might lead to eviction.

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