Can my father break his apartment lease agreement due to medical reasons?

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Can my father break his apartment lease agreement due to medical reasons?

He is medically disabled and can no longer care for himself. He must move per doctor’s orders into an iindependent/assisted living facility. The apartment office staff are requiring him to still pay 2 months rent and I think also retaining his security deposit. Is there any legal provisions in Colorado that would allow him to move out without being obligated to continue paying the monthly rent after he is gone?

Asked on March 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

CO state law does not provide a tenant with any legal flexibility when it comes to breaking their lease agreements, unless the property fails to meet housing safety standards.  That means that if your father's rental unit is habitable, his landlord can hold him to the terms of his lease (and likely hold him liable for damages) if he breaks it, unless it provides otherwise.  Reasons for termination (in some cases without fees) are generally spelled out in the lease.  A tenant with a medical or like condition is not necessarily a valid reason to end a lease without penalty. However, such a condition may allow a tenant to do so - check the document carefully. Basically, look for the stipulated ways to end a lease without incurring charges. Some provide for a termination with a stated period of notice to the landlord (i.e. 60 days). If there is no such provision, then talk to the landlord.  Explain why your father must vacate.  While you are under no legal obligation to disclose medical information, doing so may convince the landlord to allow the lease termination with no penalties.

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