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Can Your Tenant Break a Lease?

A lease is a legally binding agreement with provisions that commit a tenant to live in your rental property for a certain period. When a tenant signs a lease, they are obliged to pay monthly rent for the duration. You should make sure the original agreement addresses situations like breaking the lease. 

Your lease must outline what happens if a tenant decides to break the lease. Also, you should include a statement that legal ramifications may ensue if a tenant breaks the lease early. But, you may also negotiate a clause that lets your tenant choose to terminate at any time with notice. 

Importance of a Residential Lease Agreement

Whether you deal with disputes, lease breaks, possible eviction, deposit, or maintenance concerns, a well-written lease is important to successful property management in Thousand Oaks, CA. As a rental property owner, you should have your lease reviewed by an attorney to ensure all bases are covered and clear. Ensure the clauses define the division of landlord and tenant responsibilities to reduce future disputes. 

When Can a Tenant Reasonably Break a Lease?

Tenants may want to break their leases for many reasons, but you must know which reasons are valid. Depending on the reason, you may be bound to release the tenant without damages. The following are valid reasons a tenant can break a lease:

  • Active military duty. If a tenant is called to active military duty after they signed a lease, they can legally back out with zero repercussions. This is possible if the tenant is part of the uniformed services and offers written notice of intent to terminate the lease agreement. 
  • Domestic violence of sexual assault. A tenant under a written lease agreement who can become a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault can legally terminate their lease no matter how much time is left in the term. But, they should provide you with a written notice if they want to go. 
  • Property uninhabitability. Tenants must be provided with a habitable and safe place to live in. This means working heating, gas, electric, and plumbing systems. Also, as a landlord, you must keep your property free of health hazards and pests. If your rental property is not habitable or you are not responsive to any safety issues that may arise on your property, your tenants have the legal right to break the lease without covering your damages for loss of rent. As a property owner, you should always hold up your end of the bargain to keep your units occupied.

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