Can I break a lease without consequences if I have a doctor’s note?

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Can I break a lease without consequences if I have a doctor’s note?

I just signed a 12-month lease last month. Since then, my psychiatrist has diagnosed me with panic attack disorder with angoraphobia and dysthymia disorder. I have zero family were I currently live, so he recommended I move out of state to be back with family for their help and support. Can I get out of my lease without consequences with a doctor’s note stating the above?

Asked on October 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, this situation does not entitle you to an early lease termination.  That is of course unless there is specific language in your lease covering an illness (highly doubtful). Accordingly, you are still liable for the remaining rental payments under your lease. 

However, you should be aware that your landlord is under a "duty to mitigate damages" once you move out. This means that they must use reasonable efforts to find a new tenant.  If and when this happens, you will then be relieved of any further rental obligation

Perhaps you could help out your landlord. Do you know of someone who would like to move-in?  Ask friends, co-workers, etc.  Also, ask if you can sublet your unit. In a sublet you would  become the "landlord" (actually the sub-landlord).  You could charge your sub-tenant less than what you are paying but at least it would give you some financial relief.  However, you would need your landlord's permission to do this in most cases.  You should be aware however, that with a sublease, you will still remain liable for the rent if your subtenant fails to pay it. 


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