Can we break our lease without penalty, if my husband is out of work and we can’t pay the rent?

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Can we break our lease without penalty, if my husband is out of work and we can’t pay the rent?

We are renting a home but my husband has been out of work for almost 3 months; we are having difficulty paying the rent on our home. I was wondering if there were someway that we could break the lease due to this situation without any legal issues?

Asked on November 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, unfortunately being out of work or out of money does not provide grounds to terminate or break your lease without penalty. The lease is a contract; your contractual obligations are not affected by changes in your circumstances. You may wish to explore other options, such as--

  • Subletting: someone rents the space from you
  • Assignment: someone takes over the lease from you
  • Negotiating with the landlord to get out of the lease early, possibly by paying 1, 2, or 3 months rent; if you come to an agreement in this regard, make sure you get it in writing

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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