There may be times when a tenant needs or wants to break a lease agreement but fears they would create legal issues with the landlord. However, breaking a lease isn’t always impossible.
The following are several ways a tenant may terminate a lease agreement without penalties:
1. Early termination clauses
Many modern landlords include a clause that allows tenants to terminate their lease early. Many of these early termination clauses do include some kind of penalty. It’s important to review a lease agreement to be sure that you can terminate it early while understanding your agreed-upon terms.
2. Active military duty
Are you in the military service and were recently called into duty? This can make it difficult to fulfill your current lease agreement. However, under the Servicemen Civil Relief Act (SCRA), you may have protected rights that allow you to break a lease if the lease was entered before active duty, the active duty lasts at least 90 days and a notice was given to the landlord.
3. Uninhabitable rental unit
Rental units must have minimum safety and health standards. If a tenant asks for repairs and they aren’t met to reach the minimum standard then the tenant may consider themselves “constructively evicted.” As a result, a lease agreement may be lawfully broken.
4. Landlord harassment and privacy violation
Some landlords violate their tenants’ rights to privacy. This may even go so far as to be seen as harassment. For example, a privacy violation may occur if a landlord enters a tenant’s unit without a 24-hour notice.
5. Health issues or advanced age
A tenant may suffer from a physical or mental health condition that becomes overwhelming. This may cause them to need to enter a healthcare facility or senior center or live with family. In some cases, this tenant may qualify to terminate a lease without paying the entire balance of rent due.
If a landlord believes a lease was unlawfully broken, then you may need to be aware of your legal rights.