Is my lease valid if my landlord is not reporting the income to the IRS?

I hate my landlord, want to leave. But I’m stuck under the lease. He does not report any earnings from me to the IRS. What can I do?

Asked on October 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, whether or not your landlord is a tax cheat has literally nothing to do with the validity of your lease. Regardless of how your landlord honors (or doesn't honor) his other lawful obligations, if he has honored all the important terms of your lease (e.g. the apartment is habitable, you have possession of it, etc.), you are bound by the lease.

You could certainly choose to report the landlord to the IRS (and/or local state taxing authorities); doing so may give you a feeling of vindication, may be your civic duty as you conceive, and *possibly* could entitle you to some "whistleblower" award . . . but it will not affect the validity or enforceability of your lease.


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