Can I break my lease if the certificate of occupancy is not ready by my move in date?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I break my lease if the certificate of occupancy is not ready by my move in date?

I signed a lease to rent an apartment in an 2- family house; it starts on the 1st of next month and is for 1 year. If the landlord cannot get a C/O by my move in date can I get out of the lease without giving up my security deposit?

Asked on September 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should be able to get out of the lease for this reason, though given what is at stake (presumably, tens of thousands of dollars; the one-year value of the lease) you should consult in person with an attorney about the specifics of your case before acting. The theory, though, is that an illegal contract is void (it is not enforceable)--and that's what a lease is; a contract--and it is illegal to rent without of certificate of occupancy; hence the lease would be void. This would enable you to get out of the lease without liability or penalty and to get your security deposit back; you *might* even be able to get cerain other compensation, such as moving, brokerage, or storage fees, which you incurred in reliance on the landlord being able to get a C/O; this is something else to discuss with your attorney. Good luck.


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