Two good reasons to break a lease
December 18, 2009 1:27 PM   Subscribe

My lease expires May 15. I need to be in another city the first week of March. My housemate and I want to move out ASAP because our neighborhood sucks. Please advise. More details inside.

I plan on breaking my lease anyway because of a job offer in another city- housemate would also be moving at this time, so there's no roommate drama.

However, two attempted break-ins and one suspicious guy loitering in our alleyway last night have tipped our feelings about the neighborhood from "rough but not a clear and present danger" to "why do these people want to break into our house so badly" -- it looked like the same guys trying to get into our house each time. Called the cops each time, cops said, oh yeah, high school students have been breaking into houses all over the place for drug money, nothing we can do. Being hit three times in one week is pretty fucked up so we want to move. Ordinarily I'd find some folks to replace us on the lease but i don't want any of my friends getting their shit jacked. There has been an uptick in violence in the neighborhood the last couple months and it has officially become old.

Dad advises finding a new place, eating the damage deposit, and moving, but not paying the rent on the old place. This strikes me as potentially foolhardy. Is there any way of prematurely terminating our lease without being on the hook for two rents until May?
posted by beefetish to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Read your lease carefully. I bet there's an "out" clause that specifies what the charge would be for breaking the lease. It's often just 30 days worth of rent or something similar. It'll be less than rent until May.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:31 PM on December 18, 2009

If there's no "out"clause in your lease, though, you'll be responsible for the rent. So yeah, break out the lease.
posted by spaltavian at 1:35 PM on December 18, 2009

It's almost always one or two months rent to break a lease. Read it over again. A landlord can take you to court for breaking a lease and not paying(I learned this the hard way) so make sure you know what you're getting into.
posted by OrangeSoda at 2:05 PM on December 18, 2009

I doubt with only attempted breakins they'll release you from the lease, but you should look into it. Three times in a week is messed up.

I was released from a lease once (in Texas) once because of neighborhood problems, but our incidents included actually having a car broken into and the stereo stolen, and a second incident that involved a 911 call, cowering on the floor while people were shooting outside, and $1500 in bullet damage to our vehicles. We didn't have to pay anything extra; they just released us from our obligations a few months early, probably because they didn't want us suing the management company.
posted by immlass at 2:25 PM on December 18, 2009

Best answer: I should add, on non-preview, that being released from the lease isn't the same as breaking it. This is negotiating with the management company and them agreeing to it, not the provision in your lease for an early move-out. We didn't involve a lawyer directly, but we did talk to a friend who was a lawyer before we talked to the management people to figure out a few magic words that helped.

Again, this was in Texas (in 1992), so my experience may not be applicable.
posted by immlass at 2:28 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

I noticed you live in Seattle. I also live in Seattle. I've had conversations about breaking a lease with my boyfriend (who also lives in Seattle and he is lawyer). He said that it is "easy" to do.

First, read your lease. Second, think about how the owner hasn't lived up to their side of the agreement. And that's as far as we ever got in the conversation. I'll pick his brain a little more.

Disclaimer: My lawyer boyfriend is not your lawyer. I am also not your lawyer.
posted by soupy at 4:05 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: hey all - rereading the lease, there is no "out" clause in the lease, sent the landlord a long and pleasant letter about being released from the lease. especially necessary now that i am apparently due for training in February instead of March. thank you!
posted by beefetish at 1:08 PM on December 20, 2009

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