How to you avoid a penalty for early termination of a lease?

The apartments that we lived at are trying to charge a $1200 termination fee for us moving out prior to the lease end date. The reason we terminated our lease was due to issues we had reported multiple times that were not corrected.

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Kansas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In every lease, there is an implied warranty of habitability, which means the landlord is required to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes. You did not say what the specific items were that you reported multiple times and were not repaired.  If those items constituted breaches of the implied warranty of habitability because they were code violations, the landlord would be required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.  Since the landlord failed to make the necessary repairs, if the items are serious enough to constitute a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, you, the tenant would have the following remedies:  Yoo could make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent or you could move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if you decided to stay on the premises, you could withhold rent and defend against evictiion.  Another option would be to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  Since you want to avoid the termination fee you were charged, you can achieve that objective if the unrepaired items constitute a breach or breaches of the implied warranty of habitability with the remedy stated above to move out and terminate your obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease.. 

 


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