Can I Break My Apartment Lease If I Feel Threatened?

Last Updated on December 19, 2021 by

Yes, there are important reasons that allow you to break an apartment lease – one reason being a threat. You can negotiate with the landlord on the issue. Ensure to explain when telling them why you feel unsafe on their premises. Most landlords prefer solving breaking of lease issues out of court.

What Do You Do With Your Lease If The Neighborhood Is Life-Threatening?

What Do You Do With Your Lease If The Neighborhood Is Life-Threatening

There are no laws that allow tenants to break their apartment lease. Not even in a dangerous neighborhood. There are still other people surviving in the same place, and so can you. It is the landlord’s responsibility to make the place habitable and safe. In most cases, they use the warranty of habitability. It is a legal concept for landlords to ensure the safety of their rental units.

The warranty of habitability requires landlords to install locks on the building and each rental unit to enhance security. They must fix broken doors and windows to prevent people from breaking in. As a tenant ensure you do not void the warranty. Avoid having regular visitors into your apartment without the landlord’s notice. Doing so is a breach of the habitability warrant. 

You can end the lease if your landlord does not offer these safety conditions even after informing them in writing. Ensure to read and understand your state laws on terminating an apartment lease because of safety issues. They differ from one state to another, hence the need to check and understand your legal tenant rights.

What Should You Consider Before Breaking An Apartment Lease?

After figuring out that you can no longer live in your rented apartment, there is a way you can use to break the lease. There are some steps and considerations to put in place. Some of them include;

Reading The Lease Agreement

Some people ignore reading through the agreement papers or going through the lease agreement. They contain vital information, including move-in and move-out details. Here, check on what it says about the early release, “re-let” details, and sub-let. Most agreements demand a prior notice and reason for moving out of the apartment. Giving a prior notice helps the landlord to look for a new renter. When breaking a lease, most contracts involve hefty fees for the tenant. They also do not give back the security deposit as earlier agreed.

Consider Negotiating With The Landlord

 Honesty is the best policy. You must be transparent and communicate with the landlord on your reasons for terminating the lease. Some may even consider your decision and let you go without filing the case in court. It would be best to give the apartment owner as many notices as possible. In this way, you maintain a healthy relationship, making your lease-breaking process smooth. You even find the landlord agreeing to a negotiation with a small fee.

Under What Circumstances Can You Break An Apartment Lease Agreement?

 An apartment lease is an agreement between a landlord and a tenant on a rental unit for a certain period. Some situations are unavoidable and could force the tenant to move out before their lease. These circumstances are understandable and protectable by the law. They include;

Chances Of Domestic Violence Of The Tenant

Almost all states provide protection laws for tenants who undergo domestic violence. If you are a victim, state laws allow you to end the lease agreement and attract no penalties immediately. However, the violent act must be within a period. Usually, it should be within a range of 3 to 6 months. 

The tenant must provide the landlord with a written notice expressing their desire to terminate the lease. Explain your reason, stating it is because of domestic violence. You should also ensure to give the notice thirty days before the date you wish to end the lease. Here, the tenant should pay their rent until they leave the rented apartment. 

Remember to add forms of proof of domestic violence. Some landlords request them to ensure it’s not foul play by tenants. Examples of forms of evidence include a signed police report and sometimes an order of protection by the law.

Violation Of Entry By The Landlord

State laws do not allow landlords to enter tenants’ apartments without their consent. They must provide a 24-hour notice before entering a rented unit. On top of it, they must have legally accepted reasons to go in, such as when making repairs, inspecting the apartment, and showing it to prospective renters. 

You may break a lease if the landlord enters your unit several times without proper notice. A one-time entry may not be a big deal, especially if the landlord humbly makes a request and does it with you inside the apartment. Another occasion you can terminate it is when they enter without legal reasons.

Landlord’s Violation Of Apartment Habitability Standards

Apartment habitability standards provide tenants with running water and clean common areas. Others include proper trash bins provision, repairing when needed, and maintaining health and safety standards. You must file a complaint to health officers if any of these are not available before terminating your lease.

If they do not consider your complaints to the health officials and the landlord, you can proceed with your termination process. You only break the lease when you have reported on the above incidences without the landlord’s action. In this case, you provide a written notice explaining your reasons for agreement termination, depending on the state laws. 

Illegal Apartment

Some apartments considered illegal include those involved with family feuds. They have unsolved court issues, hence unavailable for rent. If you find out that your current residential apartment is illegal, you may end your lease contract immediately. In most states, they entitle you to a small portion of previously paid rent for the apartment. Some states insist on the landlord giving you some additional money to look for another renting unit.

Active Duty Tenant

According to the service member’s civil relief act, also known as SCRA, active-duty members have certain protections. Military members are always ordered from one station to another randomly. Sometimes they cannot even tell how long they will remain in one station. When they sign an apartment lease for some time, they can break it upon relocation orders. Such orders come with a notice of not less than three months. With such a time, it is important to notify the landlord. 

Ensure to provide a termination notice at least thirty days before the due date. It is also important to produce proof of relocation, such as the order of military deployment. Some people also use the order of station change copy.

The Table Below Is A Guide On Tips You Can Use To Break An Apartment Lease Without Penalties;


What is expected
NoticeProvide a notice explaining the reason for ending the lease at least 60 days before moving.
Rent paymentUnless the reason is among the big five, you must pay rent at least until the apartment gets another renter.
Re-rentingLook for another client to rent your space instead of leaving the place unoccupied.
Early termination feeYou should pay a fee for breaking the lease earlier than agreed. Some people prefer this option instead of facing the court of law.

What Are The Consequences Of Breaking An Apartment Lease?

An apartment lease agreement is a contract just like many others that exist. It is prone to attract consequences upon any form of breach. Unless your reason for breaking the lease is justifiable, you must face the consequences. Some of the most common causes include;

Facing legal charges in the court of law. Some landlords are litigious and will ensure you face a lawsuit for breaking the lease. It’s not common, especially for the good tenants who pay their rent on time, but it is among the most obvious consequences. You can avoid the court by settling the issue with the landlord. You must pay some fees to get out of the lease in such a case.

Another outcome is shouldering hefty fees, and signing an apartment lease ties you to the unit for a specified period. For this reason, breaking the agreement tarnishes the landlord’s financial plans. That is why you must be ready to give out whatever amount the landlords ask of you to safely get out of the lease. Most of the details are laid out in the agreement papers. 

Breaking an apartment lease affects your credit score with other companies. Information on your debt relationship and the inability to complete your end of the contract is bad for you when it gets out. The best way to avoid such a case is to settle things with the landlord the right way. If you leave matters unsettled with the landlord, it only affects your credit score.

The other reason you should avoid breaking an apartment lease is to prevent trouble when renting another one. All landlords want tenants with good credit scores. They also want tenants they can trust. You can avoid such issues by being truthful to the landlord and explaining your lease termination reasons.


You can break a lease if you feel threatened by the landlord, the neighborhood, or health-associated issues. There are also special cases that legally allow you to end it without facing legal actions. You are likely to experience hefty consequences if you wrongly terminate an apartment lease without prior notice to the landlord.

Leave a Comment