Can I terminate a lease for health reasons?

I just leased the condo 3 months ago. Since then my health has gone downhill quite a bit and I find the condo is entirely too large for me to properly take care of. It is even hard for me to walk from the front to the back of the condo without pain and being breathless. Can I break the lease with a letter from the doctor if this is for health reasons? Can the landlord keep my security and last month rent? This is an over 55 community.

Asked on July 10, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No,  you cannot get out of a lease on this basis. A lease is a contract; so long as the landlord is honoring his/her obligations (e.g. providing you the space and facilities he/she is supposed to; everything is habitabal; etc.), you are obligated as well. You can only terminate the lease without penalty if the landlord does something wrong, the property is foreclosed upon, or due to some government action (e.g. eminent domain) or "disaster" (e.g. fire) which renders the space uninhabitable through no one's fault. Your own health needs do not allow you to terminate the lease--though you can certainly approach your landlord and ask.

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