How can I break a lease without getting sued?

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How can I break a lease without getting sued?

I signed a lease 6 months ago. Something very unfortunate happened to my son and I felt that for his safety I needed to move. There was no termination clause in my lease. I was told I had to continue to pay the rent until a new tenant moved in and that I would forfeit my security deposit. Is this legal? What if I have to continue to pay my lease until the term is up. is it still legal that I should lose my security deposit? I gave the landlord written 30 days notice.

Asked on August 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no inherent right to terminate a lease on 30 days notice; if your lease did not itself allow you to do this, then your landlord could indeed hold you liable for the rent for all the remaining months of the lease. The fact that your son's safety required you to move also does not give you the right to break the lease, unless the safety issue is the landlord's fault or responsibility (e.g. black mold in the apartment): the landlord is not responsible for the actions of other people. The landlord may take your security deposit and apply to the rent which you owe but not pay, and/or to pay for any damage to the rental unit.


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