What is the law regarding breaking a lease?

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What is the law regarding breaking a lease?

The lease is for 12 months but I will not be residing in the house for the last 2 months. I asked about subleasing, but the landlord refuses to allow it. I was wondering if there is a law about breaking a lease and how many days notice is required. The lease the landlord gave me said that breaking the lease is not allowed. No payment or anything has been stated in the lease. It just says that I am responsible for paying the rent until the end of the lease. If I were to find someone to take over my place after I break the lease, would I still be responsible for that rent?

Asked on February 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, West Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) You may not terminate a lease early, unless the landlord him/herself committing such a significant or material breach of it that your termination is thereby justified (e.g. the home was uninhabitable; the landlord did not rent you all the space, or provide all the facilities, you are paying for; etc.). If you break the lease unlawfully, you can indeed be held liable for all remaining months of rent under it.

2) Unless the lease says you cannot sublet, you may. However, if the lease does bar subletting, that is enforceable.

3) If you find somone who can take over right after you, you would not be liable for any rent, except perhaps the pro rata portion for however many days there are between you leaving and the new person taking over. However, if the lease bars assignment, you might not be able to do this.


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