CanI break my lease due to hardship?

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CanI break my lease due to hardship?

My partner walked out on me and left me with my 5 kids to pay $380 a week rent. I had to take over the lease because I couldn’t afford to move out then. I also have a heart condition an suffer anxiety. I am struggling to survive. What can I do? Can I break my lease, there is still 6 months left yet.

Asked on July 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Dakota

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As with any contract, in this case a lease, the terms of your lease will dictate the conditions in which you can terminate your lease early.  However, in most cases, you cannot break your lease simply for the reason that you do not have the funds to pay the rent. 

Is your partner's name on the lease?  If so, you may be able to file a suit so that you can still recoup half of the rent, because they would still be on the hook for their share of the rent.  Just as you are unable to "walk out" on your responsibilities with your lease, your partner cannot walk away from their obligations either. 

Also, you may want to talk with your landlord regarding your situation.  If you do not pay your rent, they could evict you, obtain a judgment, and then may be able to enforce the judgment by garnishing your wages, etc.  However, it takes time and money for a landlord to go through these proceedings, and if they think they could get another tenant in there now, then they may be willing to let you leave and have a new tenant that can pay the rent.

 Check the terms of the lease and consider speaking with your landlord.


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