Next time, sign a short-term lease

Rent incentive not worth fallout from layoff

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Q: My husband’s company transferred us to the Chicago area in late 2008. We found a fantastic rental home in a quiet neighborhood and signed a two-year lease in February 2009. The landlord initially offered a one-year lease, but we asked and they agreed to a two-year lease. The landlord actually agreed to the first month’s rent free and a better monthly rental rate for committing to a long-term lease.

We found out a few weeks ago that my husband’s job will be adversely affected by a massive layoff at his company. We notified the landlord (it’s a privately owned home) as soon as we found out, but we will have about a year left on the lease at the time he goes off payroll. The rent is $2,300 a month. I know much will depend on the homeowner’s position, but legally is there anything we could do?