Can I Break My Lease Because Of Water Damage

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.

Can I Break My Lease Because of Water Damage?

You discovered water damage in your home, which can mean significant hazards. Water damage may mean growing mold, damaged flooring, or a host of other potential dangers in your home.

Now, the question is, do you have the right to break your lease because of it? In some cases, you can. DoNotPay can help you determine whether you have the right to and aid in the request to break your lease.

When Do You Have the Right to Break a Lease Because of Water Damage?

When you have the right to break a lease because of water damage may vary depending on state law. Most states, however, will allow you to break a lease if the home is unsafe or impossible to live in, as long as the unsafe conditions were not a result of your actions. In the case of water damage, that may mean several things.

  • There is mold, including black mold, growing in the home.
  • The home is flooded, and water levels are not decreasing.
  • The landlord is not making any efforts to fix a house that has been seriously damaged: not just routine maintenance, but damage that could make the house dangerous or difficult to live in.
  • You cannot access basic plumbing, electricity, or cooking because of the water damage.
  • The water damage poses a hazard in some way.

Mold and mildew can start growing within a single day after a flood. If your landlord waits a considerable period of time to take care of that damage, you could end up with an array of health problems. As a result, if you find severe water damage in your home and the landlord does not act quickly to fix it, you may have the right to break your lease.

In many US states, there is a “Warrant of Habitability” that requires landlords to maintain the rental property to meet certain healthy and safety standards. Your landlord could be in violation of this if they do not make necessary repairs after water damage.

What Consequences Can You Face if You Do Not Break Your Lease Legally?

Legally breaking your lease means giving written notice and following the correct procedures, even when it might be inconvenient. If you break your lease illegally, you could find yourself facing these three financial consequences and more:

  1. It can impact your credit.
  2. You may have a harder time getting future apartments.
  3. The landlord may have the right to charge you for the rest of your rent, or even for the damages the landlord faced because you abandoned the property or lease.

Rules for Breaking Your Lease by State

Each state has its own rules for what is considered uninhabitable conditions to live in, how long a landlord or tenant has to give notice before breaking a lease, and much more. Check out the renters’ laws for 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

How to Break Your Lease Legally on Your Own After Water Damage

You found water damage, and now you want to leave. Breaking your lease legally means:

  • Providing written notice. Even if you notify your landlord verbally about your intent to leave the property, you should still provide written notice as a record. Many states also require written notice.
  • Waiting for the established time to officially end the lease. In most states, that is at least 30 days.
  • Notifying the local Health and Safety Board about any serious damage to the property. The landlord may be required to take care of any cleanup or repairs within a reasonable time.

Breaking your lease on your own may mean a lot of communication with local bodies, including putting together letters that clearly establish the danger in your residence. You may need to document, provide proof, and keep up with all of those communications, all of which can be a massive headache when you're trying to plan a move.

DoNotPay Can Help You Break Your Lease for Water Damage

Need help , whether from a flood or ongoing problem with your residence? DoNotPay can help.

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 can solve your lease problem, depending on your specific circumstances:

  • 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.

Learn More About Your Right to Break a Lease

When you rent your home, rather than owning it, you may have a lot of questions about your rights. DoNotPay can provide the answers to some of those vital questions.

Why Use DoNotPay to Break Your Lease After Water Damage?

DoNotPay is fast, reliable, and convenient. You have enough to deal with when you have to break a lease. Let us help with the paperwork and make sure that you've taken the right, legal steps to protect yourself. We can quickly draft a demand letter to your landlord to successfully break your lease after water damage.

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