Breaking A Lease Due To Family Illness

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.

How to Break a Lease Due to Family Illness

A lease is a legally binding contract that ties you as a tenant to the rented living space for the agreed time. Therefore, in most cases, there are no legal grounds for or other severe emergencies without paying the penalty or rent until the unit is re-rented.

Breaking a lease on your own to attend to a sick family member can prove costly, as you will have to deal with penalties and late fees. But DoNotPay offers you a faster, convenient way to reduce this financial burden by drafting hardship letters on your behalf or getting the landlord to make a reasonable effort to mitigate damages.

Despite it being a noble act, moving out before your lease expires to go and take care of a sick family member is not among the legal reasons for breaking a lease in many states.

If you'd like to see the specific laws surrounding breaking a lease in your state, view the appropriate link in the table below:

TexasCaliforniaNew York
IllinoisNorth CarolinaOhio
GeorgiaVirginiaWashington State
ColoradoNew JerseyPennsylvania
South CarolinaMinnesota Alabama
Washington DCKansasKentucky
LouisianaNew MexicoArkansas
HawaiiUtahWest Virginia
New HampshireNebraskaMaine
IdahoSouth DakotaNorth Dakota
VermontRhode IslandMississippi

How to Break a Lease on Your Own Due to a Family Illness

As a result of breaking a lease, you will be required to pay a termination fee and rent for the period the house remains unoccupied. You can, however, undertake the following measures to reduce your expenses. Some of your options include:

  • Draft a hardship request
  • Notify the landlord of the requirement to mitigate damages
  • Find a replacement
  • Sublet the unit

Draft a Hardship Request

You are at liberty to write your landlord a letter informing them of your situation and request a meeting to work things out. Some landlords understand it may be necessary to and may be willing to make exceptions or work something that will lighten the fee you have to pay.

Notify the Landlord of the Requirement to Mitigate Damages

Sometimes, the landlord may be unyielding to your hardship requests as they are determined to get the entire rent due as per the lease. However, state laws require landlords to mitigate damages by making a reasonable effort to rent out your old residence so that you do not have to pay rent until the lease expires.

Find a Replacement

Most landlords will be willing to get you off your lease if you find an immediate replacement or person to occupy the house. A landlord will appreciate your effort to do all the hard work to cover for the inconvenience you would have caused and may let you break a lease without having to pay a dime.

Sublet the Unit

If the state laws allow it and the landlord consents, you could find a reliable person to occupy the unit while the lease remains in your name for the remainder of the period. Technically, this is not breaking a lease but allows you some breathing space as you do not have to pay the customary monthly rent. However, make sure the person you sublet pays the rent on time as it is your name on the line, and you do not want to suffer consequences such as poor credit.

Consequences of Illegally Breaking a Lease: What if I Move Out Without Telling My Landlord

You are probably aware that the above methods require effort and largely rely on your landlord's goodwill. However, it should never cross your mind to vacate the premises without informing the landlord unless you want to be the subject of legal proceedings.

Illegally breaking a lease can see the landlord sue you for:

  1. Rent owed- the landlord can seek legal action that requires you to pay all the rent due for the duration of the lease.
  2. Damages – they can sue for compensation for the inconvenience and unfair treatment you subjected them because of your unwillingness to follow due process.

The landlord can also seek the services of debt collectors who will be on your tail and could resort to extreme methods such as reporting you to credit bureaus, which could harm your credit and even make it harder to find housing in the future.

Break a Lease Due to Family Illness With the Help of DoNotPay

At DoNotPay, we understand that family illness is not a legal ground for breaking a lease, and the methods of minimizing the expenses can prove a hassle.

First, it might not be easy to find an immediate replacement to occupy the premises in time to save you the rent you would have to pay. Some landlords may also not allow you to sublet their premises, and even where they do, finding a person who will pay the rent on time without dragging your name through the mud is not exactly a guarantee. Drafting a convincing hardship letter, on the other hand, may also not be within your realm of expertise, especially if it's your first time doing it.

That's why we are here to help you. All you have to do is follow these 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.

Why Use DoNotPay to Break a Lease?

DoNotPay should be your go-to when breaking a lease because it is

Fast. You do not have to spend time wondering what to include in the hardship. We will save you time by doing it on your behalf.

Easy. When using DoNotPay, you do not have to look for a replacement, sublet, or seek an audience with the landlord. Just follow the three easy steps at the convenience of your home and leave the rest to us.

Successful. We will do everything in our power to minimize the expenses in your case.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

Helping you break a lease for whatever reason is just one of our many product offerings. We can also help you with:

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