Can I break my lease early and not have to pay for the current month rent if my home was broken into?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I break my lease early and not have to pay for the current month rent if my home was broken into?

My home was broken into and I don’t feel safe in my home any longer. I want to move before my lease is up. I told the office this and they said that I have to pay net month’s rent and the cancel fee. Is there anyway I can get out of paying all of that due to the circumstances?

Asked on May 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A landlord is not responsible for the criminal acts of third parties--like someone breaking into your home--unless the landlord is actually at fault in some way, such as by not providing adequate security. ("Adequate" is basically what the average landlord in a area like this would provide for a building like this; if the landlord is more-or-less providing the locks, lighting, etc. that other landlords for similar premises do, then he or she is discharging his or her legal obligations). Since the landlord is not responsible for other's criminal acts, their criminal acts do not give you the right to break your lease--which is a contract--with the landlord.

As a result, unless you can show the landlord was at fault--and furthermore, that he or she has not or is not correcting the sitution despite notice of it--the landord does not have to let you cancel the lease at all, unless the lease itself provides for early cancellation. If the lease provides for early cancellation, you can cancel it as per the terms of the lease (i.e. by doing or paying whatever it calls for). If the lease does not provide for early cancelation, however, then the  landlord could require you to pay the full rent remaining for the balance of the lease term, or such lesser amount as the landlord voluntarily agrees to let  you pay.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption