Are we able to break our lease due to a decrease in income?

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Are we able to break our lease due to a decrease in income?

We are in a hole right now with bills and now my boyfriend is having to pay child support so now they are taking more out of his check. We can’t pay our rent and we have 2 more months here until our lease ends. Are we able to get out of our lease without any penalty or further rental obligation?

Asked on August 11, 2011 Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter whether you can't afford the rental premise or not--you and your boyfriend are contractually obligated (that's what a lease is: a contract) to pay for rent for the full term of the lease. Unless the lease itself had a clause allowing you to terminate it in the event of financial difficutly, your financial circumstances are irrelevant: the landlord can demand you pay rent even you practically can't, and you don't pay the rent when due, he can evict you; sue you for  the remaining balance (and withhold your security deposit for  unpaid rent); and report the default and eviction to the credit rating agencies. You need to either (1) talk to the landlord and get him/her to agree to let you out early (a landlord can always do this, if he or she chooses); and/or (2) look at other options to make rent and get out from under the lease, like subletting, assigning the lease to someone who will take it over for you, or taking in a roommate to help make ends meet. Good luck.


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