Q: I have been a tenant in a rental home for the last few years. A few months ago I signed a new 12-month lease but I just bought a new home and will be moving in next week. My lease doesn’t expire for eight more months but I couldn’t pass up this great opportunity to become a homeowner. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to pay the rent and the new house payment. How can I break my lease?
A: In most residential leases, there are no provisions for the tenant to unilaterally break or terminate the lease because he or she purchased a home. A lease is a binding legal contract, and the landlord entered into this agreement with the understanding and expectation that you would stay for the duration of the lease. Often the landlord will even give you favorable terms such as a lower monthly rent based on this long-term lease. So to tell your landlord that you are moving next week and don’t want to be responsible for the balance of the lease term is not likely to receive a positive response from your landlord.