The lease agreement is a contract that the tenant and the landlord agree on. This contract essentially dictates that the tenant has agreed to live in an apartment or house for a set period. However, even though the tenant may have the right intentions, they may have to leave your property before the entire lease is completed.
These situations force a tenant out of the home before the lease ends, which creates an unforeseen situation for the landlord. Most landlords aren’t aware of these situations since tenants may not know about them either. However, knowing them beforehand can help you stay prepared.
CW Sparks are sharing 4 situations where tenant can exit the lease agreement without receiving a penalty.
1. Your Property is Violating a Habitability Standard
Every landlord has to maintain their property to a certain standard. This means they have to ensure that the property stays habitable and fit. Some everyday obligations that a landlord has to follow are:
- Following all of the safety and health codes
- A tenant must have access to running water at all times
- They must have a proper trash bin for their garbage
- A landlord is also responsible for the repairs
- The common areas should remain clean, too
If your tenant complains to the health department, an inspector will visit to check if their complaint has any merit.
2. The Landlord Harasses the Tenant
Every landlord must give a 24-hour notice before they plan to enter the rental unit of their tenant. Moreover, the landlord must also have a legal reason to enter the house or the apartment. This could be:
- They want to inspect the apartment
- They want to show the rental unit to other potential tenants
- They’re interested in making repairs
Throughout this whole process, the tenant can break the lease and not receive a penalty if:
- The landlord harassed the tenant
- The landlord goes inside the house without having a legal or legitimate reason
- The landlord consistently tries to enter the apartment even when they haven’t given them a notice
To stop the landlord from behaving this way, the tenant may acquire a court order. If the landlord chooses to refuse the court order that doesn’t stop their behavior, the tenant can also provide a notice stating they’re going to terminate their lease.
3. Your Tenant is in the Military
The SCRA (Service Members Civil Relief Act) offers some protection to active military members. These members are protected by the act when they receive an order which dictates that they have to change stations. If your tenant is a service member and they’ve signed the lease, you’ll have to make some additional considerations.
If they receive a notice that states that they’ll have to relocate for 90 days, then your tenant can:
- Give you written notice in which they state that they’re terminating the lease that they signed initially
- The tenant must also provide proof of the orders that they’ve received to the landlord
- This notice must be given within 30 days of them receiving the orders
4. Domestic Violence
Several states outline different laws for domestic violence in the landlord and tenant agreement. These laws protect victims of domestic violence. A tenant who has faced domestic violence can also have the right to terminate their lease agreement without paying the penalty. Usually, to go down this route, the act of violence must occur in the last three to five months.
If this has happened, the tenant will have to:
- Hand the landlord a written notice which dictates that they want to terminate their lease agreement because of a case of domestic violence
- The tenant will only be responsible for paying the rent until the date at which their lease terminates
- They must also provide the notice of their termination is also going to require 30 days
That said, the landlord also has the right to demand proof of an act of domestic violence. The acceptable kind of proof is typically an order of protection. A tenant can also use a police report they filed to report the accident.
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