Can I break a lease without consequences if I have a doctor’s note?

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2011

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Can I break a lease without consequences if I have a doctor’s note?

I just signed a 12-month lease last month. Since then, my psychiatrist has diagnosed me with panic attack disorder with angoraphobia and dysthymia disorder. I have zero family were I currently live, so he recommended I move out of state to be back with family for their help and support. Can I get out of my lease without consequences with a doctor’s note stating the above?

Asked on October 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, this situation does not entitle you to an early lease termination.  That is of course unless there is specific language in your lease covering an illness (highly doubtful). Accordingly, you are still liable for the remaining rental payments under your lease. 

However, you should be aware that your landlord is under a "duty to mitigate damages" once you move out. This means that they must use reasonable efforts to find a new tenant.  If and when this happens, you will then be relieved of any further rental obligation

Perhaps you could help out your landlord. Do you know of someone who would like to move-in?  Ask friends, co-workers, etc.  Also, ask if you can sublet your unit. In a sublet you would  become the "landlord" (actually the sub-landlord).  You could charge your sub-tenant less than what you are paying but at least it would give you some financial relief.  However, you would need your landlord's permission to do this in most cases.  You should be aware however, that with a sublease, you will still remain liable for the rent if your subtenant fails to pay it. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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