A Tenant’s Guide On Breaking A Lease Without Any Expenses

Break My Lease A Tenant’s Guide On Breaking A Lease Without Any Expenses

A Tenant’s Guide On Breaking A Lease Without Incurring Any Expenses

When we sign a lease on a home, we prepare ourselves to commit to a year or more of living there. Unfortunately, things come up all the time that can make your living situation uncomfortable or your home uninhabitable. In these cases where you want to leave your lease early, you may be curious about the rules for breaking a lease.

Breaking a lease on a house or apartment can't be done for just any reason. Although a lease is signed in order to protect both the landlord and the renter, the ultimate goal of a lease is to ensure a landlord is paid for you to occupy their property. However, if the home is uninhabitable or the landlord has violated the terms of the lease, it is within your rights as a renter to consider breaking your lease.

Learn what qualifies as a legal reason to break a lease and how to properly break your lease, so you can avoid costs, credit damage, and more issues when you break your lease.

When Is Breaking a Lease Justified?

It is your right as a tenant to feel safe and comfortable in your rental home. Times when it may be justified to break a lease are:

  • The property violates habitability standards - If your landlord doesn't stay on top of performing repairs, maintaining common areas, and keeping the property up to health and safety codes, you are legally entitled to break your lease.
  • Your landlord harasses you or violates the rules of entry - Your landlord is legally allowed to enter your unit with at least 24 hours’ notice if they are making repairs or inspecting the unit. However, if your landlord constantly shows up without notice or tries to enter the property without telling you, they are violating the terms of your lease, and you can terminate the lease if they don't stop.
  • You are an active member of the military - If you are on active duty, you are protected by a law that allows you to terminate any lease if you are required to relocate. Thirty-day notice is often given before the date of termination.
  • Your landlord does not legally own the property - If you find out that you are living on a property that is not legally owned or cannot be legally rented out by your landlord, you may terminate your lease without penalty. You may even be entitled to returned rent.
  • You are a victim of domestic violence - Most states have laws that protect victims of domestic abuse. If you can provide proof of abuse, such as a court order or police report, and 30 days notice, you can terminate your lease without penalty.
  • You simply can no longer afford to pay rent on the property.

There may be more reasons that you can legally break a lease based on the laws in your state. DoNotPay can help you understand whether your reason for terminating your lease is valid in your state:

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

What Are the Consequences of Illegally Breaking a Lease?

There are a number of reasons that a lease cannot be legally broken. A few of these include:

  • Buying a new house
  • Moving in with a partner
  • Relocating for a new job or school
  • Moving to be closer to family

Signing a lease is a legally binding agreement. Before doing so, you should be certain that you can commit that time to living in your home. The reasons to break a lease must be related to dangerous or unlivable circumstances, or because of issues with the property itself.

You often can't break a lease just because you change your mind. Violating your lease can result in being sued by your landlord for unpaid rent (or more), excessive legal fees, loss of personal property, or having an eviction on your record.

How To Break Your Lease On Your Own

If you believe that you have a valid reason to break your lease, there are steps you can take to begin the process.

  1. Look over your rental agreement and make sure you are legally in the right.
  2. Reach out to your landlord and let them know your reason for needing to break your lease.
  3. Get the whole conversation in writing in case you need to use it later.
  4. Be willing to show the property to prospective new tenants if you are leaving on good terms.

The process of breaking a lease can feel daunting and uncomfortable. You may feel intimidated by the idea of confronting your landlord. Fortunately, DoNotPay has a product that can help you break your lease without putting yourself in uncomfortable situations.

DoNotPay Can Help

DoNotPay can take care of talking to your landlord for you through a demand letter. If you want to break your lease but aren't sure where to start, DoNotPay can guide you through it. 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. 

Here’s how DoNotPay quickly solves your problem, 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.

More Quick and Easy Solutions From DoNotPay

In addition to helping you break your lease, DoNotPay has a number of great services and products to help simplify your life. A few of our products can help you:

Sign up for DoNotPay today to learn more about our life-changing services!

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