How can I break a rental lease?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How can I break a rental lease?

I’ve been offered a good job that will provide a good salary and health benefits but is in another state. Currently we have no insurance at all, obviously I could not pass up this opportunity and took the job. I can’t afford 2 rents and splitting up my family, my wife and 3 year old son, isn’t an option. We are great tenants and good people but the owners aren’t being cooperative and say thats business. I told

them to keep our security deposit and another month rent, however they still say they’ll take us to

court if they can’t find another tenant. This seems off to me. I understand the law is to protect the owners but I’m sure this situation is not what the lawmakers had in mind when writing it.

Thank you

Asked on January 16, 2018 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you haven't already done so review your lease and look for language about this situation; occassionally, a leasewill  provide protection in the event of a change of employment. If the lease is silent on this, then you are not entitled to an early termination. You, the, are still liable for the remaining rent until the end date of the lease. That having been said, your landlord is under a "duty to mitigate damages" once you move out. This means that they must use reasonable efforts to find a new tenant. If this happens, once the new tenant moves in you will be relieved of any further rental obligation. In this regard, possibly you know of someone who would like take over your unit? You can ask friends, neighbors, etc. Also, might be able to sublet. With a sublet you become the "sublandlord". You could even choose to charge the "subtenant" less than what you are paying but it would at least you some financial relief. However, a sublet typically requires the landlord's permission. Further, you should be aware, that with a sublease you will still remain liable for the rent even if the subtenant fails to pay you.

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 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.

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