Can my son terminate his university apartment lease early due to a change in his enrollment status and his relocation?

My son is a full time student at the U of Del and signed a lease for a apartment. He no longer needs housing because he is withdrawing from the University due to poor academic performance. He is moving home and transferring to a local community college. In DE, my understanding is that a tenant is allowed to break a lease with a 30-day notice if they are relocated to a new job that is more than 30 miles away from their present job. His job as a full-time student is his schoolwork. Does this provide a legal basis to terminate the aparment lease early.

Asked on July 17, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately no--in this case, that provision of DE law would not help for at least two reasons:

1) The requirement is that the "current employer" requires the worker to relocate. Ergo, it does not apply to when someone leaves one situation, for any reason, for another. It only applies when the current employer, not the worker, makes the decision to relocate the worker. You son is living the university to attend a different school; by definition, even if the university were his employer (see below) it's not his current one relocating him. The situation is more analogous to voluntarily quiting job A to take job B.

2) For purposes of the act, "employer" means just what it sounds like--an employer in the traditonal sense of the person or company who pays you to do work. In a sense, yes, a student's "job" is to go to school--but that does NOT make the school his employer, anymore than the fact that even though a homemaker's job may be to keep house and take care of children, that does not mean that his or her spouse, the primary breadwinner, is his or her "employer."


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