Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Arizona

breaking a lease when two parties are involved

My son and his fiance rented an apartment for 13 months. He was being physically abused by his fiance and locked out by her a few times. After a few incidents, he filed a police report and moved out. The lease is in both of their names. She will not sign him off. She wants to stay there and qualifies on her own. The apartment management says there is nothing they can do - they are both legally responsible. What are his options?

Asked on 8/20/02, 10:56 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Gloria Meyer Meyer Law Office

Re: breaking a lease when two parties are involved

Your son does have a legal right to occupy the apartment as a co-tenant. If the other co-tenant locks him out or otherwise prevents him from occupying the apartment during the term of the lease, he would have legal recourse against her. However, the lease is a contract between the two co-tenants and the apartment owners. The law will not deprive the apartment owners of their right to enforce the contract against both co-tenants.

As a practical matter, your son may want to attempt to negotiate with the apartment owners to release him from his contractual obligation for a fee. Considering that there was physical violence by the fiance against your son, the apartment owners may prefer that your son does not attempt to move back in due to the risk of additional violence, police visits, etc. Alternatively, your son may simply wish to take his chances that the fiance will pay the entire amount of the rent and comply with the terms of the lease.

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Answered on 8/21/02, 10:59 am

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