All About Breaking A Lease In California
The decision to leave a rental home is hard. Before a tenant can legally be released from their responsibilities in California, there are some rules that must be met. When breaking a lease in California, you need to make sure to follow the right process to avoid penalties and costs for breaking your lease.
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities When Signing a Lease In California
You have to pay for the property, no matter where you are from. Payments are set by the terms of the lease. They also say how long in advance they need to leave the property. These aren't the only things that a California tenant must do:
- Keep the unit in a clean and habitable condition
- Keep fixtures clean and sanitary
- To use the rental unit only for living, sleeping, cooking, or dining purposes only
- Make small repairs and maintenance
- Not disturb other tenants or neighbors
- California's landlords are generally forbidden from requiring tenants to pay rent in cash
- Tenants are entitled to at least 60 days' advance notice to move out if their unit has been foreclosed
- Security deposits may not be more than two months' rent and must be returned in 21 days minus damages
When Is Breaking a Lease Justified in California?
When someone breaks a lease, it's a big deal that needs to be handled very carefully. If you do this wrong, the landlord might be able to take you to court, and you could receive penalties for breaking your lease.
If at least one of these categories applies to you, you have a legal reason to break your lease in California:
- Active duty military
- Domestic violence
- Uninhabitable conditions
- Early termination clause in your lease
- Harassment from your landlord
California’s Lease Termination Notice Requirements
If you live in California, you can legally end a lease by giving the landlord the reason, writing a letter of termination, and giving the landlord the right amount of time to do so. Make sure you know that breaking a lease could hurt your credit history. This is important to keep in mind. Here's a quick look at how long landlords need notice before you move out:
|Rent Payment||Notice Time||Statute|
|Week-to-week||7 days||Civil Code Section 1946.1(a)|
|Month-to-month||30 days||Civil Code Section 1946.1(b)|
|Yearly||No statute||No statute|
How to Break Your Lease in California on Your Own
To break your lease in California, follow these instructions:
- Determine if you have a legal reason to break your lease. If it is not technically a legal reason, you will have to do extra work to plead your case to your landlord.
- Check your lease for an early termination clause.
- Talk to your landlord. They may be sympathetic to your situation and may be fine with you leaving early without penalty. Be polite and honest about your situation. You may have to pay another months’ rent or more, depending on what your landlord is willing to offer.
- If this doesn’t work, write your landlord a demand letter with sufficient evidence as to why you have to break your lease.
Break Your Lease With the Help of DoNotPay
Sometimes, things don’t go as planned when you’re trying to break your lease. If you need help with this time-consuming and frustrating process, you can trust DoNotPay to write and deliver the legal letters for you to help you break your lease in California.
Here's how you can get started in 3 easy steps:
- Search Break My Lease on DoNotPay.
- Prepare a signed copy of your lease that you can use as a reference, and enter the state the lease was signed in.
- Let us guide you through the 4 potential options.
Then, DoNotPay will do one of these things to help you quickly break your lease:
- 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.
Why Use DoNotPay to Break Your Lease Today
If you break your lease with DoNotPay, you'll have more time to look for a new home. Using DoNotPay, you can make and send lease termination letters quickly and easily. This way, you always have a copy of the letter on hand. We'll email you from DoNotPay as soon as the notice of termination is sent out.
How Else Can DoNotPay Help You?
After breaking your lease in California, we can help you solve more problems. How else can DoNotPay resolve problems with a few mouse clicks? DoNotPay can help you with the following and much more:
Allow DoNotPay to help you regardless of the situation. Explore our services to see how else we can help!