When you sign a lease agreement for your rental unit in California, you likely intend to stay for the entire time specified in the contract. Breaking a lease prematurely could mean paying your landlord a termination fee or the loss of a security deposit. However, there are circumstances in which you may break a lease without facing legal repercussions, which we will explore in this blog post.
A Call to Military Duty
Under federal law, you can break your lease if you join the military or relocate due to deployment after signing it. The War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act helps protect the rights of the uniformed service members, including armed forces and commissioned corps of various departments.
To terminate the lease per the relief act, you must prove that the agreement was made before entering active duty. You also need to show that you'll be at work for the next ninety days and send a written notice to your landlord citing the pending deployments.
The Apartment is Uninhabitable
Like other states, California has specific health and safety standards. If the unit violates these codes or is unsafe due to major structural issues, you can break your lease. California landlord-tenant law defines specific requirements that you should meet before moving out due to repair problems. However, the issue must be serious, such as poor waterproofing, lack of heat, damaged floors and stairways, and other essential services.
Landlord Harassment and Violation of Your Privacy Rights
Depending on the extent of action, landlord harassment or their violation of your privacy rights may be a justifiable reason to terminate your lease. If your landlord constantly abuses your privacy rights or goes ahead to remove doors and windows, change locks, or turn off utilities, that would be considered "constructively evicted."
California state laws demand that your landlord gives you 24 hours’ notice before entering your unit. Landlord harassment and privacy rights violation gives you the right to terminate your lease without rent obligation.
Searching for a Reputable Tenant Attorney in Santa Monica? Let’s Talk
There are many reasons why you can break your lease, but most of them have legal consequences if not handled carefully. Should landlord harassment be the reason, you should speak with an experienced tenant attorney who can help you end your lease and recoup the money you need to move forward. Contact our office today to learn more.