breaking a lease

What Are the Consequences of Breaking a Lease Early in NYC?

When you sign a rental agreement, you are agreeing to stay in an apartment for a certain amount of time. If something changes and you need to move out, that is called breaking a lease. There are usually penalties associated with this because landlords do not want to deal with this kind of hassle. Sometimes life happens and your previous plans go out the window though, so a New York residential lease dispute lawyer from our firm can help you weigh your options.

Will I Be Penalized for Breaking a Lease?

In most cases, yes. There is often a fee for breaking a lease and your landlord can even bring you to court for the expenses of re-renting and advertising the unit. You could even be asked to pay out the remainder of your lease. For example, if you break your lease eight months into a year-long lease, the landlord may want that additional four months of rent. They thought that they were going to receive your rent for a certain period of time and now they are not, so they have a valid grievance against you.

However, there are valid reasons for breaking a lease. You can show that landlord that:

  • You are being deployed on active military duty
  • You are a victim of domestic violence and you need to move for your own safety
  • You are a senior citizen who can no longer live independently

You can also leave if your landlord is harassing you and not respecting the lease agreement.

Are There Alternatives to Breaking a Lease?

If you do not have a legally valid reason for leaving, you could avoid fees and additional penalties for breaking the lease by subleasing your unit. If your landlord agrees, you can have another person move in and continue to pay rent for the rest of your lease. The only thing to keep in mind is that you are still the tenant. So if this person who signs a sublease damages the apartment, you are likely to be on the hook for that.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

You may. If you have a valid reason for breaking a lease and your landlord will not negotiate with you, you may require the help of a lawyer. If your landlord tries to bring you to court, a lawyer can represent you and push back against their attempts to squeeze any more money out of you. An attorney can also help you gather evidence and build a case against the landlord when you have a valid reason for breaking a lease, like landlord harassment or an inhabitable unit.

Contact Our Law Firm

If you are thinking about breaking a lease, make sure that you know what the consequences will be. Contact Robert Rosenblatt & Associates to schedule a consultation. One of our experienced lawyers can take a look at your rental agreement and help you figure out what your best course of action will be.

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