How To Break Your Lease Due To Domestic Violence

Editorial 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 Your Lease Due To Domestic Violence

Breaking your lease without significant financial or legal penalties can be difficult under any circumstance. But your landlord cannot force you to pay rent until the end of your lease if you are experiencing domestic violence or another unsafe situation. Here is an overview of how DoNotPay can help you simplify .

When Breaking a Lease Is Justified

Few situations legally justify breaking your lease without penalty, but your safety is always an acceptable reason to move out earlier than you planned to. Some circumstances that fall into this category include:

  • Domestic violence.
  • Harassment from your landlord.
  • Repairs your landlord has refused to make promptly that result in safety hazards.
  • Problems with your landlord entering your apartment in non-emergency situations without following your state's advance notification requirements.
  • Your rental is found to be illegal.
  • A disability or other medical condition that makes your current living situation unsafe or otherwise inappropriate.

To find out more information about legal reasons to break your lease in your state, refer to this table:

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 My Lease Because of Domestic Violence

In most states, proof of domestic violence within the past three to six months, such as a copy of a police report, order of protection, or similar legal document, is generally sufficient evidence, if your landlord requests it, to .

However, you will often need to provide notice at least 30 days in advance of officially breaking your lease. You can, of course, stay somewhere else during this time if remaining in your rental is unsafe. However, you will still need to cover rent and fulfill any other obligations with your landlord until the end of your notice.

Consequences of Illegally Breaking a Lease

Although your immediate safety may make telling your landlord exactly where you are going a bad idea, you need to inform them that you are leaving and why to prevent potential consequences that could make getting a new lease more challenging.

Disappearing without informing your landlord that you plan to move out could result in them suing you, or an eviction, both of which could affect your credit score and rental history.

Reasons That Can't Be Used to Break a Lease

It is important to only use domestic violence as a reason for breaking your lease, even if you have additional reasons for doing so. Many other reasons that may seem legitimate to you are not technically legal reasons to break a lease.

For example, most states typically do not allow you to break a lease to:

  • Move in with a family member or different roommate
  • Move closer to family
  • Move closer to a new job
  • Move to a home that is a better fit for you

By focusing on the domestic violence issues only, you ensure your request to break a lease will be honored. Don’t muddy the waters with other information or complaints about the rental unit or landlord.

Next Steps for Breaking Your Lease Because of Domestic Violence

Legally breaking your lease can be difficult, but DoNotPay can communicate with your landlord on your behalf to ensure that the process is done the first time correctly. You will simply need to provide us with a few details about your situation, which we will use to break your lease per your state's requirement. Then, you can focus on finding a safer place to stay.

Break Your Lease Because of Domestic Violence With the Help of DoNotPay

DoNotPay is a fast, easy, and cost-effective option for breaking your lease because of domestic violence.

Here's how you can get started in three 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.

  • 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

Although your landlord should be aware that domestic violence is an acceptable reason to break your lease, some less ethical landlords may attempt not to accept your notice, charge additional fees, or draw out the process to get more rent from you. DoNotPay can help you with all of those issues.

DoNotPay's robot lawyer is:

  1. Faster than waiting for your landlord to respond to your notice
  2. Easier than handling every step yourself when you need to prioritize finding a safe place to live
  3. Less expensive than dealing with rent and extra fees we can help prevent

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay is the world’s first robot lawyer. We can help you:

  • Obtain copies of various legal documents, like birth certificates
  • Deal with other issues with your rental, like roommates
  • Avoid extra fees in a wide range of areas
  • Obtain any benefits you are entitled to as a victim of domestic violence

Contact us today to get started!

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