How To Break A Lease Due To Family Death

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

A Tenant’s Guide On Breaking A Lease Due To Family Death

If you recently experienced a death in the family, your housing situation may have to change due to financial changes, emotional impact, or wanting to move to another place to be closer to loved ones. Even though you are going through a lot, when you have to break your housing lease early, your landlord may attempt to charge you as much of the initial lease money as they can.

When , you may be able to evade any penalties and costs from breaking your lease early, depending on how you attempt to break your lease and if your reason is legal. When you need to break your lease, you can attempt to hash out the details with the landlord or engage a legal assistant like DoNotPay to assist you.

How to Break a Lease Due to Family Death

A lease typically includes at least these six things:

  1. The tenant or tenants’ names
  2. Property location
  3. Due rent amount per month
  4. Rent due date
  5. Utility payment
  6. Rent terms and conditions

Leases offer tenants and landlords a fair amount of security, as they are legally binding. Both parties must uphold the lease’s terms and conditions, including honoring the duration.

Sometimes the tenant may have to break a lease for reasons beyond their control. States have specific tenant-landlord laws, and the state may specify breaking a lease. Generally, if the tenant breaks a lease early, they have to pay the penalty.

A family death may force you to break a lease, and this again depends on your state laws, lease term length, and landlord-tenant relationship. When someone close to you dies, and you have to break a lease, check if the lease has a hardship clause to spare you a high penalty.

Some landlords may opt to end the lease without asking for costs, but you have to pay an early termination fee. If the landlord is adamant that you must pay, you need to follow these instructions before :

1. Notify the Landlord of the Death via Writing

When a person dies, a lawyer, Estate Executor of the Deceased, or any other representative writes to the landlord. This letter is a formal notice that tells the landlord to start looking for a new tenant.

2. Find Out Your Financial Responsibilities

All states have regulations for breaking a lease due to a family death and the landlord’s entitlement. While some states may require you to pay rent until the lease expires, some may require you to pay a portion of the rent. To avoid unscrupulous landlords, find out what the law says in your state about the situation.

3. Collect Belongings

After the landlord receives the death notification, they can secure the property to prevent further liability if anything is broken or lost. Contact the landlord and ensure they have received the written notice to pave the way for clearing the residence.

4. Sign a Form Signifying Release to the Rights of Possession

A Release to the Rights of Possession form states that the tenant no longer lives in residence, and you have removed their items, ending the lease.

What Are the Consequences When You Illegally Break a Lease?

As mentioned, a lease is binding for both parties. If you illegally break the contract, like trying to move the deceased items without informing the landlord, you can face severe legal consequences such as:

  • Facing a lawsuit for rent owed
  • Facing damages and breach of contract
  • Getting evicted, which also damages your credit
  • Having trouble renting again later on due to credit damage and an eviction on file

Doing this on your own may be a lengthy process, especially if your landlord is unwilling to let go of the due rent. It might escalate into a nasty issue, which you do not need, especially after a loss. Use DoNotPay, instead, to sit back and let us handle the situation.

Is There an Easier Way to Break Your Lease After a Death in the Family?

DoNotPay, an easy-to-use app, has a much easier solution to help you break your lease after a death in the family.

Here’s how you can get started in 3 easy steps:

  1. Search Break My Lease on DoNotPay.

  2. Prepare a signed copy of your lease that you can use as a reference, and enter the state the lease was signed in.

  3. Let us guide you through the 4 potential options.

This is what DoNotPay does to help, depending on your situation:

  • If you’re a uniformed service member breaking a lease to fulfill your service obligations, we’ll send your landlord an SCRA Protection Letter.
  • If you’re breaking your lease for a reason protected by your state’s tenant laws, we’ll write your landlord a letter detailing your protections for breaking the lease under the relevant law.
  • If your reasons for breaking your lease aren’t protected by federal or state law, but you’d like to try to convince your landlord to let you break the lease through mutual agreement, we’ll draft a hardship letter making your case to your landlord.
  • If there are no remaining options for breaking the lease with protection, but your state requires landlords to mitigate damages to tenants who break their leases, we’ll notify your landlord of that obligation and minimize the remaining rent you have to pay.

And that’s it. DoNotPay will send the appropriate letter on your behalf. You should hear back from your landlord within a few weeks with a response.

How to Minimize Any Penalties for Breaking Your Lease, Depending on Your Situation

Other than a death in the family, you may have other circumstances that make it easier to break your lease, or you may be able to prove that a family death is a necessary reason for you to break your lease.

Here are the ways that you can negotiate to break your lease without penalty, and with the help of DoNotPay, these steps are even easier because we handle them for you:

File an SCRA Protection LetterThe Federal Service members’ Civil Relief Act protects uniformed service members who have to break a lease because of their service requirements.

If you are a uniformed service member and need to break your lease due to reassignment or duty, DoNotPay can help you draft and send a letter to your landlord, demanding that they allow you to break your lease.

File a State Tenant Law Protection LetterDifferent state laws protect tenants who have to break a lease due to various categories of issues like lease breach, disability, domestic violence, and more.

DoNotPay can help you draft and send a letter demanding that your landlord allow you to break your lease under any state laws applicable to your situation.

Send a Hardship LetterIf your resident state laws do not protect you from death in the family situation, you can ask the landlord for leniency. DoNotPay helps you draft and send a letter asking for the landlord’s leniency.
Notify the Landlord of the Requirement to Mitigate DamagesYou need to break your lease, but your state laws do not protect this reason under the law. However, the state has a law that requires the landlord to make a reasonable effort to re-rent the residence to minimize your required rent payments.

Why Use DoNotPay to Break Your Lease?

DoNotPay provides you with three significant benefits when trying to break a lease without penalty:

  1. Fast: After you answer a few questions, DoNotPay will quickly do the work for you.
  2. Easy: You do not have to run around filling out forms or chasing down the landlord.
  3. Successful: DoNotPay works in your best interests in a successful conclusion.

Other Ways DoNotPay Can Help

DoNotPay helps with more than just lease issues. You can do these things, and much more, with the help of DoNotPay’s quick and easy solutions:

To solve any pressing issues that might take up too much time and cut through government bureaucracy, DoNotPay provides the perfect solutions!

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