Early Lease Cancellation

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab

About Lease Termination

About Lease Termination

  • Lease Termination statute - notice the landlord must give before they may terminate a lease without cause. 

  • Notice needed is based on rent payment frequency. 

  • Tenants who have a fixed-date provision in their lease terms do not need to provide notice to break a lease.

Special Rules Governing the Lease

The tenant should ask the landlord about any particular rules in the lease. The tenant can request a copy of the lease with the written rules to understand any limits to conduct. This includes conduct of the tenant and the conduct of the tenant's guests.

The death of the landlord or the tenant does not end the lease agreement. The lease continues. The lease does not dissolve by any automatic process. The heirs to either the landlord or tenant are bound by the agreement.

  • The lease does not end if the property gets destroyed without the fault of any party. i.e. natural disaster, flood, fire, etc.
  • If the apartment has serious repair problems or defects and is unfit to live in, you may be able to cancel early.
  • If you are a tenant you must be aware that a court may find the landlord's lease violations are not enough to be unfit. If you cancel early and your repairs do not make your home uninhabitable then you may have to end up liable to pay rent.


Tenant Wants to End Lease Early

Tenant Wants To End Lease Early

A tenant may have a few reasons that may allow them to break a lease early. These reasons may include issues where the landlord breaches the lease, military duty, uninhabitable conditions, domestic violence, or early lease termination clauses. 

A Tenant Can Break a Lease for the Following Reasons

  • Some lease agreements may provide specific terms that would allow a tenant to terminate a lease early in exchange for a penalty fee.
  • Read over the lease and look for any language that might indicate that the lease can end-early, before the end of the fixed period.
  • There might be something such as the amount of the fee and the amount of notice required as part of the language of the clause.

  • Any active or reserve member of the armed forces, including the National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard, or the member's spouse may terminate their lease if any of the following occur: 

  • The member receives orders to depart 35 miles or more from the location of the dwelling.

  • The member receives orders to depart 35 miles or more from the location of the dwelling for more than three months.

  • The member is discharged, released, or retires.

  • The member is ordered to reside in government-supplied quarters.

  • The member is notified of the availability of government- supplied quarters which were not available at the time the lease was executed. The member should have notified the landlord in writing that he/she had a pending request for the government-supplied quarters before signing the lease.

  • The member is injured due to service in the armed forces and hospitalization is required for more than 15 days.

  • The member has been killed due to service in the armed forces.

  • The member must provide a written notice of the termination of the lease, with a termination date not less than 30 days after the notice is served on the landlord. The member or spouse must also provide proof of the hospitalization or death of the member if that is the reason for the termination of the lease.

  • Read more about rights of servicemembers in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) 

If the action is serious enough, harassment by a landlord or their violation of a tenant’s privacy may be enough justification for relieving a tenant of their obligations of the lease.

If a landlord violates the terms of the lease agreement, it may be enough justification to break the lease and relieve the tenant from their own obligations (i.e. illegally raising the rent during the fixed period).

Landlord Wants to End Lease Early

When the Landlord wants to end the lease early

The landlord may want to end the lease agreement with a tenant early. The landlord must notify the tenant to end the lease early or change any terms of the lease. The time the landlord has to notify the tenant depends on the type of lease agreement.

Check the lease to see if there are any terms or conditions about the time the landlord must give to end the lease. Some leases have renewal clauses. The tenant or landlord can avoid automatic renewal by written notice of intent to vacate. In most leases, the written notice must go to the other party at least 30 days before the lease expires.

When the tenant does not follow the lease (i.e. fails to pay rent) the landlord has the right to evict the tenant.

Last Review and Update: Jun 29, 2022
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