Can you break a lease due to a medical condition?

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Can you break a lease due to a medical condition?

Is it possible to break a lease if you live in a multi-story dwelling and you are being required to have bi-lateral foot surgery, thereby rendering you unable to go up and down the stairs (for approx. 2 months)?I have documentation. In NV. 

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Nevada

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all check the terms of your lease and see if the situation is covered in it (although typically it won't be won't be). However, there may be a general provision for ending a lease early with a stated period of notice to the landlord (i.e. 60 days). If not, then you will then need to check the laws of your state, and even your specific city. The laws are different everywhere, however 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. Finally, you can explain this situation to your landlord and see what, if any, arrangements regarding your termination it is willing to make.
 
Otherwise, unfortunately a lease is a contract and if you break it you are technically responsible for the rent remaining on the lease term (plus fees, if any). Although 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 vacant unit and try to find a new tenant. If they do, they have to let you out of the remainder of the term.  However, that will still almost certainly result in paying for at least a few months more but it may at least give you some financial relief.

You can assist your landlord in finding a new tenant; maybe a friend or someone from work? Also, if your lease allows or the landlord will permit, you can try to sublet. Accordingly, even as you are paying the landlord rent, someone else is paying you. You can more easily accomplish this by subletting to your sub-tenant for less than what you pay. You then will make up this difference.  Granted, it's not the perfect solution but getting something from a sub-tenant is better than getting nothing from no tenant.


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