One of the few things in life that you can actually count on is change—you may sign a lease with specific plans—to take a new job, go to school or just be out on your own. But then the unexpected happens. Are you bound to the lease? Are there circumstances where you can legally break the lease without being responsible for the remaining months? Here’s an overview of when you can do that in New Jersey.
As a general rule, when you sign and enter into an agreement to rent an apartment, you are responsible for the rent, regardless of whether you continue to reside on the property. Here are the exceptions:
- The apartment is not safe or is in violation of state health or safety codes or laws—There’s a warranty of habitability that comes with an apartment. If the landlord fails to provide premises that are “habitable” under local and state housing regulations, you can consider yourself “constructively evicted,” and get out of the lease. You must follow specific rules, however, to do this.
- You join the military on active duty—Federal law allows you to break a lease if you enlist in the armed forces of the United States after signing a lease. You are required to provide your landlord with written notice of your intention to terminate the lease and you must state in the notice that you are doing so because you are going on active duty.
- There is evidence of domestic violence—If you or your children have been victims of domestic abuse, you can terminate a lease early. You may be required, however, to obtain a protective order.
- You need to move to assisted living or a nursing home—If you have suffered an illness or accident that necessitates assisted living or nursing home care, and you are at least 62 years old, you may be allowed to terminate a lease early, but will likely have to produce a doctor’s letter verifying your need to move.
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At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Send us an e-mail or call us at 201-791-1333 or 917-494-5695 to set up an appointment.