When can a tenant break a rental lease?
While a lease is a legally binding contract, there are many legitimate reasons for a lease to be broken. In the following circumstances, you might be entitled to vacate the property legally before the lease’s expiration date.
Tenants who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and specific other crimes are granted the right to an early termination under California law. Even if they do not live with the family member, tenants have the right to terminate their lease early if the victim is a member of their household or an immediate family member.
2. Military Duty
Federal law gives you the ability to end a lease if you enlist in the military after signing it. (War and National Defense Service Members Civil Relief Act, Sections 501 and succeeding, 50 App. U.S.C. You must be a member of the “uniformed services,” which also includes the National Guard that has been activated and the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). If you intend to end your lease due to a military obligation, you must notify your landlord in writing. Your tenancy will end 30 days after the date when rent is next due, even if that date comes before your lease expires, once the notice has been mailed or delivered.
3. Unsafe living conditions
According to municipal and state housing rules, a court would likely rule that you have been “constructively evicted” if your landlord does not provide habitable housing. As a result, you are no longer liable for rent because the landlord effectively kicked you out by providing unlivable housing. You must follow specified steps according to California law before moving out due to a significant repair issue. The issue must be seriously detrimental, such as having no heat or another necessary service. Cal. Civ. Code 1942 (2022) and Green v. Superior Court, 10 Cal.3d 616 (1974).
4. Violation of Privacy
California state law requires that your landlord provide you with adequate written notice before accessing your rented home. Typically, a reasonable amount of notice is 24 hours (or 48 hours for the final move-out inspection). California Civil Code 1954 (2022) You would be considered “constructively evicted,” as described above, if your landlord repeatedly infringes on your right to privacy or takes actions like removing windows or doors, cutting off your utilities, or changing the locks.