Am I able to break a lease due to pregnancy?

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Am I able to break a lease due to pregnancy?

I’m from HI and was looking to move to CO. I had signed a lease in CO 5 months ago but then found out the next month that I was pregnant. I can no longer move to CO and must stay back in HI. I’ve been trying to contact the residential leasing office for the last 2 months to discuss the matter, but they never respond to my calls. Is there anyway to get out of this lease without paying a hefty fine?

Asked on July 29, 2011 Colorado

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you need to check your lease and see if this situation is covered (although typically it won't be). However, there may be a general provision for ending a lease early with a stated period of notice (i.e. 30 or 60 days). If not, then check the laws of CO, and/or even the specific city in which the premises are located (that having been said, in most places it is not legal to break a lease for medical reasons). You can contact a tenant's rights organization or an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant matters for help with this. Finally, keep trying to reach your landlord to see what, if any, arrangements regarding a lease termination they are willing to make.
 
Otherwise, a lease is a contract and if you break it you are technically liable for the rent remaining on the lease term (plus any applicable fees). You should be aware however that landlords have a duty to "mitigate" damages"; that is to minimize damages by re-letting the premises as soon as possible.  This means that if you break the lease, your landlord has to advertise your unit try to and find a new tenant. If they do, they have to let you out of the remainder of your lease.  It will still almost certainly result in paying for at least a few months more but it may at least give you some financial relief.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you need to check your lease and see if this situation is covered (although typically it won't be). However, there may be a general provision for ending a lease early with a stated period of notice (i.e. 30 or 60 days). If not, then check the laws of CO, and/or even the specific city in which the premises are located (that having been said, in most places it is not legal to break a lease for medical reasons). You can contact a tenant's rights organization or an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant matters for help with this. Finally, keep trying to reach your landlord to see what, if any, arrangements regarding a lease termination they are willing to make.
 
Otherwise, a lease is a contract and if you break it you are technically liable for the rent remaining on the lease term (plus any applicable fees). You should be aware however that landlords have a duty to "mitigate" damages"; that is to minimize damages by re-letting the premises as soon as possible.  This means that if you break the lease, your landlord has to advertise your unit try to and find a new tenant. If they do, they have to let you out of the remainder of your lease.  It will still almost certainly result in paying for at least a few months more but it may at least give you some financial relief.

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