Is there a way to legally break a lease? I am currently renting at Heritage Apartments but unfortunately I have hit financial hardships and am having a hard time paying. The worse part is my roommate has become crazy. She opens my mail, moves all my stuff around without asking, nice one day mean the next, and I do not feel safe in my own apartment. Is there anything I can do?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Based on the facts that you have provided there is no way to break the lease without any future liability. Not getting along with your roommate and financial hardship is not a valid reason for termination of the lease.
You have a few options:
(1) You can go to your landlord and see if they will let you out the lease early (highly unlikely). If they do let you out, get it in writing.
(2) Review your lease and see if there is a early termination penalty. If so, you can pay the early termination amount and end your lease early.
(3) Review your lease and see if there is a prohibition against subletting. If not, you can sublease your room to another person. Effectively you will become the landlord to the new person. If you go this route, you will want to have a lease agreement in place stating that the sub-lessee will abide by all the terms of original lease agreement. Generally, most leases do not permit subleasing without the express authorization of the landlord.
(4) See if you landlord will let you out of lease if you are able to bring in a replacement tenant. You could inform your roommate that you want to move out and ask him/her if there is anyone he/she wants to live with. If your landlord allows this, you need to make sure that there is an official novation (replacing one party to an agreement with another) and termination of your obligation in writing.
Andrew A. Esposito
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