What are a tenant’s rights to terminate a lease?

In November we told the landlord that we could no longer afford to rent the house and he said OK; he would put the sign out front and rent it. Around 11/15/10 he told us that he rented the house starting in in 2 weeks and that the new tenants would move in the second week of December. So we went out and found a new place. Our landlord then came by the other morning to inform us that these tenants won’t be moving until the 19th of the month and we are to pay the rent until then. We reminded him that he had already told us he rented it and we couldn’t afford rent payments at 2 places. He has also failed to repair a leaking roof which we told him about in October. We need to know what to do?

Asked on December 3, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Ok, well unfortunately you are bound by the provisions in the lease agreement unless you got the ok from the landlord to leave on December 1st in writing and that you were no longer bound under the lease to pay rent.  I am guessing that did not happen her so you are now stuck.  So now you are going to have to play hardball.  You are first to get something from him that says he is letting you out of the lease.  Then you are going to have to go to landlord tenant court and file to pay the rent in to court (which you have to do until the date of the agreement - there is no out with that so beg, borrow and steal to pay the December rent for  the 19 days) and advise the court that the apartment has defects and a leaky roof that makes it uninhabitable and that you wish to have the rent abated until such time as the condition is fixed and you wish to have October and November's rent abated as well.  That may buy you some time and money.  Good luck.


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