written by: Robin L.•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 7/5/2011
Believe it or not, there are some legitimate reasons to break a lease. This article explores instances when breaking your lease is possible. Read on to learn more.
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It is important to understand your rights as a tenant before you sign a lease. There are some reasons to break a lease that will be accepted by all property owners, but not many. If you are unsure of your rights, it is always best to contact a legal expert in order to prevent legal trouble from mishandling your lease. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can always contact a legal aid office or the tenants’ rights organization in your state.
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Be All You Can Be
Joining the Army, or any other branch of the United States military, is one of the legitimate reasons to break a lease. The government requires landlords to let service men and women out of their lease if they join up or if they are already serving and are redeployed. This is the only nationwide acceptable reason to break a lease. It is possible that you will have to pay an additional month of rent depending on when you give the notice and when you have to leave.
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Read Your Lease
Some leases have options that will allow you to terminate the agreement early. For example if you pay for two months of rent or find a replacement renter, you may be able to leave the rental property with very little effort or hassle. If you have trouble understanding the terms of your lease you may want to consult with a legal representative. Remember this experience in the future and make sure that you understand the entirety of any future leases you may be give before you sign them. Additionally, it is possible that your lease may automatically renew if you do not give notice by a specific time that you will not want the unit for an additional year.
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When you rented your apartment or home your landlord promised you certain things, such as a well maintained environment and possibly certain amenities. If your rental has not been maintained properly or if those amenities never appeared, such as a pool that didn’t open during the summer months, you may be able to use those factors to dissolve your lease. You will need to provide proof that the service or amenity was provided, typically found in the lease, and that you have communicated with the landlord repeatedly about the lack of service or amenities. Be sure to keep copies of all emails you send or send letters via certified mail to prove the landlord received them.
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Subletting requires that you find someone else who wants to live in your rental apartment. They pay you and you pay the property owner but you are still responsible for any damages that occur on the property and ultimately the rent. While you could try to sublet your rental without the landlord finding out, it could backfire if there are clauses in the lease the restrict who can live in the rental. Therefore, it is best to ask for permission.
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As you can probably tell, it can be extremely difficult to find reasons to break a lease that will be accepted by a landlord. Everything you need to know about your specific situation can be found in the lease you signed, or are thinking about signing. Be sure that absolutely everything the landlord promises you is written in the lease and make sure you read and understand each lease you sign.