CanI legally break a 1 year lease agreement?

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CanI legally break a 1 year lease agreement?

I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with my husband. We have a son and a daughter that share the second bedroom but don’t live with us. When both stay the night at the same time the boy sleeps in the living room. We recently found out that we are having another baby and my elderly father had to come and live with us. On top of the fact that there is just not enough room for all of us, my husband lost his job and we are really struggling to afford the rent. I just don’t know what to do.

Asked on November 30, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  Breaking a lease is a difficult thing to do and really should be done by a Judge when  the situation warrants.  It can be done in a proceeding regarding habitability of an apartment.  For example, if the apartment is infested with "pests" then the tenants can ask to pay their rent in to court to allow the problem to be rectified by a landlord.  If it is not or can not be then the Judge renders the lease void and lets the tenants out.  If you do not have an issue that would lend to a claim of unihabitability then this is not an avenue for you.  Plus if it fixed you are still stuck in the apartment.  Does your lease agreement allow for subletting the apartment?  That may be an option for you.  It puts you, though, in the position of being a landlord and possibly stuck for the rent if they default.  So try and get someone to take over your lease - maybe even for more money - and go and appeal to the landlord.  If you bring the landlord a new tenant for more money and ask then to void your lease you may be freed from this problem. Make sure that you are released from the lease in writing and signed by the landlord.  Good luck. 


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