Knowledge Builders

on what grounds can you break a lease

by Kacey Quigley Published 11 months ago Updated 1 month ago

There are legal reasons to break a lease listed below:

  • You can't afford to pay your rent
  • The landlord evicted you
  • You are being forced to move out of state for work
  • Safety concerns
  • Health circumstances prevent you from living on the property.
  • Even something as simple as changing schools or moving to a new city can be enough of a reason to cancel your lease.

There are a few instances when a renter can legally break a lease. If the property is uninhabitable or illegal, the landlord harasses the tenant, the tenant is active duty military, or if the tenant is a victim of domestic violence, then the tenant can legally break the rental lease.Sep 14, 2022

Full Answer

What are the repercussions of breaking a lease?

Consequences attached to breaking a lease without any proper legal reasons would push you towards paying the rent for the months left in your lease. Additionally, your credit report may also get negative remarks if your landlord takes legal action against your actions of breaking a lease early without reasonable grounds.

What is a good excuse for breaking a lease?

Valid Reasons for a Tenant to Break a Lease Military reasons (leaving for active duty or permanent change of station) A few states allow tenants to break a lease due to health problems or a job relocation. The landlord violated the terms of the lease by failing to: Comply with lease clauses. Make necessary repairs.

What are some reasons to terminate a lease?

What is lease termination?

  • End of term. Most fixed-term leases do not automatically renew, but you typically still need to send a termination letter.
  • Lease violation. Another reason for terminating a lease is if the tenant fails to uphold their rental obligations.
  • Breaking a lease early. In many situations, this type of lease termination is considered a violation of the lease. ...

Can I go to jail for breaking a lease?

Generally speaking, no, you cannot go to jail simply for breaking a lease. The worst case scenario is, generally speaking, that you will have to pay the rent for the rest of the lease term, plus interest, and may lose your security deposit. Likewise, what happens if you break a lease and don't pay? A lawsuit.


Can you break a lease in New York State?

Figure out if you can break your lease under New York law According to federal and state law, you can automatically terminate your lease if: You are entering active military duty. You are 62 or older and want to move to senior housing, or you can no longer live independently and want to move in with a family member.

Can I terminate my lease early NYC?

You may owe a penalty fee or lose your security deposit. In many cases, a landlord will let you out of your lease early as long as you pay a termination fee. The amount can vary. For Puliti, it was two months' rent, plus whatever she owed until her move-out date.

How can I break my lease in Nevada?

The most important factor in breaking a lease legally in Nevada is giving proper notice. For week-to-week leases, you must provide seven days' written notice. For month-to-month leases, you must provide 30 days' written notice.

How much does it cost to break a lease in NYC?

This fee can range from anywhere between a thousand bucks to 3+ months rent but is typically set at either 1 or 2 months rent. You'll also likely need to give your landlord at least 30 days' notice of your intention to break the lease.

Can tenant terminate lease early?

Yes, a tenant may terminate a fixed term lease agreement prematurely.

How much does it cost to break a lease?

In many cases, the lease may give the tenant the option to pay an “early termination fee.” If this is the case, tenants can expect to pay one to two months' rent in order to exit the lease agreement.

Can you get out of a lease early Nevada?

Nevada is one of several states that allow tenants to break a lease for any reason and will not hold renters responsible for the entire amount of the remaining lease. Under Nevada Revised Statute 118.175, the landlord must make their "reasonable best efforts" to re-rent the unit as quickly as possible.

How can I break my lease without paying in Nevada?

Conditions for Legally Breaking a Lease in NevadaEarly Termination Clause. ... Active Military Duty. ... Unit is Uninhabitable. ... Landlord Harassment or Privacy Violation. ... Domestic Violence, Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking. ... Violation of Lease Agreement. ... Senior Citizen or Health Issue. ... Other Reasons.

Can you cancel a lease?

If you're leasing a car (or are going to) it's peace of mind knowing that you can terminate your lease agreement, should you no longer be able to afford the monthly payments. However, you will need to pay an early termination fee and any outstanding finance on the vehicle.

What happens if you break an apartment lease?

What happens if you break an apartment lease? You will either have to pay an early termination fee, find a replacement tenant, or cover the cost of the remainder of your lease agreement. If you can't pay, your landlord may take you to small claims court or use a collection agency to recoup the rent.

What happens if you break an apartment lease?

What happens if you break an apartment lease? You will either have to pay an early termination fee, find a replacement tenant, or cover the cost of the remainder of your lease agreement. If you can't pay, your landlord may take you to small claims court or use a collection agency to recoup the rent.

What are my rights as a tenant in Las Vegas?

Landlords must give at least 45 days notice before raising rent, unless the lease stipulates that rent will remain stable until the end of the lease period (NRS 118A. 300). Landlords must give tenants five days after a missed rent payment before they're legally able to file for eviction (NRS 118A.

Is Nevada landlord friendly?

Is Nevada a Landlord-Friendly State? Due to the low amount of restrictions regarding rent control policies, rent increases, and fees, Nevada is generally considered a landlord-friendly state. Additionally, the state demands a few mandatory disclosures, making the rental process easier for the landlord.

How can I break my lease act?

You should contact the Tenancy Advice Service on 1300 402 512 before taking any action that could terminate your tenancy during its fixed term! A tenant may terminate a periodic tenancy agreement by giving at least 3 weeks' written notice of an intention to vacate to their landlord (or their agent).

What Happens If You Break a Lease?

The consequences of breaking a lease could include credit score damage, loss of security deposit, a lawsuit by your landlord to collect outstanding...

How Much Does It Cost to Break a Lease?

The cost of breaking a lease early depends greatly on your reasons. If you do not have the proper legal justification to break your lease, you may...

How Do You Get out of a Lease Legally Without Penalty?

To break a lease without penalty you will need to meet specific legal qualifications. The law acknowledges that periodically tenants have justifiab...

Can One Person Break a Two-Person Lease?

Co-tenants are jointly liable for paying rent and fulfilling the terms of the tenancy. This means that a landlord can seek the total amount of rent...

How Do You Get out of a Lease With a Roommate?

If you are on the lease agreement and want to leave your lease early while your co-tenant(s) stays, you will want to give your landlord notice and...

How Long After Signing a Lease Can You Back Out?

Unless your written lease specifically allows for a cancellation period, your lease is binding the second you sign. The landlord has the right to d...

Does breaking a lease hurt your credit?

While a money judgment won’t show up on a tenant’s credit report (thanks to the National Consumer Assistance Plan), if the landlord chooses to go a...

What Happens If You Break a Lease and Don’t Pay?

A landlord may sue the tenant for unpaid rent during the fixed period, which if won, could result in the tenant facing a money judgment. That judgm...

What Are Valid Reasons for a Tenant to Break a Lease?

The following are valid reasons for a tenant needing to break a lease:

What If a Tenant Breaks a Rule in the Rental Lease?

If a tenant fails to pay rent, breaks a rule, or significantly damages the property, then it is considered a breach of contract and you have grounds for eviction. If there are people living in the unit that are not on the lease, then that is also a breach of contract and you have grounds to evict them.

What Are Grounds for Eviction?

No matter what the situation, you’re never allowed to change the locks on the tenant, physically remove a tenant or their belongings, or shut off utilities. Below are the legal reasons you can evict a tenant and step-by-step instructions for evicting a tenant.

What If a Tenant Stops Paying Rent?

If a tenant doesn’t pay rent, then he or she is violating the terms of the lease .

What If a Tenant Abandons the Property?

State landlord-tenant laws usually have clauses about “reasonable presumption of abandonment.” You can usually presume the tenant has abandoned the property if he or she has left belongings and hasn’t paid rent for two or more months. If you are not sure, we recommend not changing the locks, because it is illegal to change the locks on a tenant as it’s considered forced eviction.

What happens when you transfer a security deposit?

In the case that your lease is being transferred to the new owner, the security deposit becomes the new landlord’s responsibility. You should transfer the deposit to the new landlord and notify the tenant of the transfer and the amount transferred.

Why does my lease end early?

There are several reasons why a lease might end early — your tenant may need to leave early, you’re looking to sell the property before a lease ends, or in some cases, it’s because you have good reason to evict your tenant. Regardless of the situation, breaking a rental lease with a current tenant does happen ...

What happens if you terminate a lease at the beginning?

And if you’re terminating at the beginning of the lease, this could mean a lot of rent money. Still, even in this worst-case scenario, a tenant may have some wiggle room based on how magnanimous the landlord is.

What happens if you don't pay rent?

If the new tenants who take your place don’t pay rent, you could be liable for their payments. If it is allowable, you might try a site like Flip, where renters can post leases they need to break, and are seeking out qualified renters who are looking for someplace to live.

What does "opt out" mean in a lease?

You could get lucky: Some leases have an “opt-out” clause, meaning that breaking a lease is as simple as paying a previously agreed-upon fee, along with your last month’s rent.

Can a landlord live with a tenant?

After all, if there’s still a tenant in the space, and your landlord is still collecting rent, the landlord might be able to live with it.

Can you break a lease without a landlord?

Another option is to offer to help your landlord find a new tenant for your home before actually breaking the lease. “It generally is not allowed without landlord consent, but you can discuss it with your management to see if they would consent to a sublease and under what terms,” says Reiss.

Can a tenant terminate a lease without consequences?

That said, there are a couple of cases where a tenant could terminate a lease without consequences, but they’re extenuating circumstances.

Does asking landlord to raise rent hurt?

All in all, it never hurts to ask (and pray you catch your landlords in a good mood). It’s possible they may not mind some tenants breaking their leases, since this would make it possible for them to raise the rent sooner. You won’t know until you ask.

How much rent do you lose if you break a lease?

Tip: If you have broken your lease, and you live in a state that requires your landlord to mitigate damages, you should still plan on losing at least one month’s rent. Even if your state law requires the landlord to make a reasonable effort to rerent, in civil court it is common for a judge to award landlords with at least one month’s rent (no matter how quickly the unit is rented).

What happens if a landlord violates a lease agreement?

If a landlord violates the terms of the lease agreement, it may be enough justification to break the lease and relieve the tenant from their own obligations (i.e. illegally raising the rent during the fixed period).

What happens if a tenant is not properly notified?

If those standards are not met, proper notice is given by the tenant and the repairs/fixes are still not made within the allowable time period, a tenant would be considered “constructively evicted”. As a result, the obligations of the tenant under the lease are no longer required, given that the landlord has not met their own responsibilities under the landlord-tenant law.

What is a habitable premise?

Habitable premise or “implied warranty of habit­ability” statutes have been written into a majority of state landlord-tenant laws. These warranties cover basic amenities such as hot water, heat, a working roof, and secure flooring and walls. Additionally, dwellings should be free from dangers such as asbestos, lead, and mold. If the landlord refuses to provide the tenant with the implied warranty of habitability, then the tenant may be able to break their lease without liability for future rent. These are considered a tenant’s right, regardless of any conditions a landlord might ask the tenant to sign or agree to in a lease.

How often can a landlord increase rent?

Landlords must give proper notice, such as 30 to 60 days before a lease renewal and are not allowed to increase the rent by more than is legally allowed in their state.

How long does it take to change locks on a rental property?

If you request the landlord to change your locks and they fail to do so within 24 hours of your request, you may then change the locks yourself. If the restrained person is also a tenant of the unit, that person is still responsible for upholding their end of the lease.

How long does a lease agreement have to be valid?

For a written lease agreement with a fixed period of greater than 1 year to be valid, it needs to have a clear description of the leased property. Illegal units. The definition of what constitutes an illegal rental unit can vary by location and isn’t always entirely clear.

How to avoid legal consequences if you break your lease?

These five steps will help you avoid legal consequences if you decide you need to break your lease: Review your lease agreement. Talk to your landlord. Consider reletting or subletting. Use a lease termination letter. Pay the remaining rent. 1. Review your lease agreement.

What to do if you have trouble negotiating a clean break with your landlord?

If you’re having trouble negotiating a clean break with your landlord, consider finding a new renter to either relet or sublet the property. Finding a replacement on your own is a great way to alleviate your landlord’s fears about losing money when you move out.

What is subletting in a lease?

Subletting: Similar to reletting, subletting is when you find a new renter to take over your lease, and they pay rent to you directly. In this case, the new renter signs a sublease agreement with you. However, your name remains on the original lease agreement. This makes you responsible for anything that happens to the property, including if the new renter is late paying rent. Because your original lease is still active, you aren’t technically breaking a lease if you sublet (although you still won’t get your security deposit back until the end of your lease).Not all landlords allow subletting. Check your lease agreement or ask your landlord before identifying a new renter.

What is the difference between subletting and reletting?

Here are the differences between the two options: Reletting: Reletting is when you or your landlord find a new renter to take over your lease. The new renter will sign a new lease agreement with your landlord, which then voids your original agreement and releases you from any legal obligations. Subletting: Similar to reletting, subletting is ...

How much is early termination fee?

Paying out of pocket – Lease agreements often include penalties and fees for breaking a lease. Most commonly, early termination fees are two months’ rent. Various state laws limit the maximum amount a landlord can charge, so be sure to check your state’s legislation on the matter.

What to do when ending a lease early?

One of the first actions you should take when ending a lease early is to carefully read through your lease agreement.

What is it called when a landlord fails to provide a suitable living environment?

Landlord fails to provide a suitable living environment: Has your landlord allowed the property to fall into disrepair? Is the property so uninhabitable that it’s dangerous for you to continue living on the premises? In legal terms, this is often called a “ constructive eviction ”.

What to do if your landlord disagrees with your lease?

But this is one to run by a lawyer before taking action on: if your landlord disagrees that they’ve violated the terms of the lease, you could get into an expensive legal squabble. 3. Talk to your landlord about breaking a lease. Landlords are people, and many of them are understanding.

How to get out of a lease without penalty?

The landlord tenant laws that allow you to break a lease are different from state to state. In many places, you can get out of your lease without penalty for a number of reasons, such as domestic violence, an unsafe environment, or if you’ve been called up for military service.

How to find a new tenant for a rental?

It’s in your best interest to help your landlord find a new tenant. Once someone new is in your rental, you’re off the hook for the remaining rent due in your lease. If it’s a hot market, your landlord might be able to rent out your place quickly. If not, they might ask for your help getting the word out or getting the place clean for showings in a hurry. Use your social media channel to post the listing; ask friends, family, and coworkers if they know anyone in need of a place to live; and utilize community resources like neighborhood social media pages or bulletin boards in coffee shops to post the listing.

What happens if you don't pay rent?

If you don’t pay it, you could face a lawsuit, a ding on your credit report, and the loss of your security deposit. That’s pretty dire, but there’s a big loophole. Most states require the landlord to actively seek ...

What to do if you sublet a house?

If you do sublet, go through all the proper steps with your landlord, of course. They’ll likely be happy to know the place is occupied and their chances of receiving rent in full and on time have gone up.

Can a landlord find a new tenant?

It’s in your best interest to help your landlord find a new tenant. Once someone new is in your rental, you’re off the hook for the remaining rent due in your lease. If it’s a hot market, your landlord might be able to rent out your place quickly.

Do you have to get your security deposit back if you sublet?

Whether you move out in the middle or end of your lease, you have a right to get your security deposit back.

What Happens If You Break a Lease?

Without that, depending on the wording of your lease agreement, you could be required to pay the rent for the remaining notice period of your lease. Your landlord could also take legal action against you, and credit agencies could mark any deviation in your credit report .

Is the landlord responsible for the upkeep of an apartment?

When you are renting an apartment, the landlord is legally liable for the upkeep of the home. They should ensure that the property maintains all safety and health codes. If there are mitigating circumstances like black mold, issues with running water, or problems with waste disposal, you could have grounds for an uninhabitable property, which might require you to break your lease.

Can you break a lease early?

Depending on your state, you should be able to break your lease early if there is a violation of any safety or standard codes.

Can a landlord keep your deposit if you break a lease?

Don’ t assume that just because you are breaking your lease, the landlord is legally allowed to keep your deposit. Seek legal advice to understand the entire process and clear any remaining balance or fees.

Can you keep a security deposit after you leave?

Your landlord could keep the security deposit if they can prove that you have damaged the property in any way after you terminated your lease.

Can you pay rent if you love your home?

Even if you love your home, sometimes it could be challenging to pay your rent. Many people have lost their jobs and income due to COVID-19, have large medical bills, or student loan debt, to name a few reasons rent is a burden. You should look into legal options to terminate your lease for the betterment of your financial situation.

Can a landlord enter your home without your consent?

When you are renting a property, landlords are not allowed to enter your home without legitimate reasons. Many states also require them to provide a written notice to the tenant before they enter. If you feel your landlord is invading your privacy or entering your home without your consent, you have the right to initiate termination of the lease.

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