Reasons to Break a Lease: Emotional Trauma

in Legal Issues on by

It’s difficult for you as a tenant to break a lease, because it’s a legally binding document. One way to do it without legal consequences is when your landlord breaches a provision of the lease and doesn’t do anything to fix it within the time period specified in the lease. There are other reasons to break a lease that’s allowed by real estate law, but emotional trauma is not one of them.

Death of a Spouse

Losing a spouse is traumatic, and you may need to leave your apartment in order to cope with the loss. Daily reminders about the time you shared with your spouse in your apartment can be too much to take. Many statues allow you to break a lease if you spouse dies, but not due to emotional trauma. It’s because courts deem the death of a spouse the end of a joint tenancy or cotenant relationship. Your landlord cannot sue you if you leave the apartment. Most laws do require you to give the landlord notice about your spouse’s death and your intent to vacate the apartment. You could be liable for damages that result from you not sending adequate notice, or if you don’t notify the landlord in a timely manner.

Breaking up with a Loved One

You cannot break a lease because you’re traumatized by a breakup. If you were living with someone who was a cotenant and that person leaves, then you’ll be responsible for paying all of the rent and meeting all of the obligations under the lease. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get much sympathy from your landlord about the breakup or a willingness of his part to release you from the lease. At the same time, it’s worth trying to negotiate a release with your landlord instead of abandoning the lease.

Emotional Trauma from Bad Memories

Living in an apartment can be miserable if it’s filled with bad memories. The emotional trauma can impact many areas of your life, including your job performance, ability to concentrate at school or raise a family. While the negative effects are real and even unbearable, it does not give you license to break a lease. The way to resolve the issue is to talk to your landlord to see whether you can get a release from the lease agreement. You should offer to find other tenants, pay for newspaper classified ads if necessary, post free ads on websites like Craigslist, and be flexible about letting prospective tenants view the apartment. These concessions may not persuade your landlord to release you from the lease and end your rental obligations, but it’s worth trying. Some landlords would prefer to have a tenant who wants to live there and they want to avoid a potential legal proceeding to collect rent down the road.

Don’t make the emotional trauma that you’re experiencing worse by inviting a legal battle with your landlord. Before you break your lease, speak with your attorney before you speak with your landlord.

6 Responses to “Reasons to Break a Lease: Emotional Trauma”

  1. August 22, 2011 at 8:00 am, Concerned Dad said:

    I assume that when the apartment leasing company (dorm leasing) traumatizes your kid because of not following up on maintenance requests repeatedly you should document and then sue to break the lease based on nonperformance of contract.


  2. January 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm, Worried Mom said:

    Reasons to Break a Lease: Emotional Trauma????
    I’m concerned about this topic, I have a son that has lived in a apartment complex and has paid his rent on time for time. However, his apt has had many problems including hot water pipes broken, i went in with him to report the problem, but months later he still getting promises but no repairs. His patio was broken into, and his dog was beaten, as well as his other dog was stolen, his girlfriend has been threat end by older teenagers (Rape), his car was shot by teenagers with a shot gun, and when my son peaked over his patio to make sure no one was hurt, which has a privacy fence, this
    person stuck his shot gun in my son’s face. Thank God he did not shoot my son. He has report


  3. January 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm, Worried Mom said:

    Reasons to Break a Lease: Emotional Trauma????
    They have reported all these problems to the police as well as the management and the housing authority. The police are the only people that really showed concern.

    I feel like when ANYONE that has things like this happen needs to be able to get out of their lease. This is not only Emotional Trauma, but a matter of life and death!

    What will it take for people in these situations to be able to move without having to break their lease, and then wonder if they will ever be able to get into a safer place, or end up in a worse place, in order to survive and pay off a complex that they no longer live in.


  4. January 31, 2012 at 4:45 am, Chelcy said:

    I have a question… What if you were physically assaulted in your apartment complex? I thought that was a way out of my horrible living situation, but the leasing office didn’t want to hear it. I was almost killed I’m front of their office during business hours by a known tenant not on the lease. I suffered severe head trauma as well as complications with PTSD. Knowing that person was still on property gave me insomnia. He is supposedly gone now, but I still want to leave.


  5. May 09, 2012 at 10:16 pm, SC said:

    People… there are usually clauses within the lease contract that provide for the resident should the landlord not make necessary repairs. The verbiage of the lease contract, in many (if not all) states, the landlord has an obligation to provide necessary and reasonable repairs within a certain amount of time. This is something like due diligence. They have to make a real and reasonable effort to make repairs when you submit a maintenance request. Make sure you get a work order receipt if available. In TX it boils down like this:

    You go make a request for repair(s). You get a work order receipt. The landlord gets a reasonable amount to make the repairs. After the first request, if they don’t make the proper repairs within a reasonable amount of time (usually up to 30 days depending on the repair) you go and renew your request. If after the first two attempts, no attempts to repair are made, you make a 3rd request in writing. This request will include a reference to the previous requests you’ve made, the reasonable amount of time they had to make the repair and their lack of response on it. Then you tell them they now have 7 days to complete the repair, and failure to do so will result in what’s called “default by owner”. When they default on the contract, you now have the legal option of terminating the lease and informing them of when you will be moving out. if you follow what’s written in your lease, and they fail to make the repairs, then there is nothing at all they can do if you terminate and move. Additionally, if you follow everything, and they report you to credit after you’ve followed the rules, then they would be violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1976.

    As for being assaulted… no, you can’t break the lease. Your assault is not their fault. Your fear or discomfort for living there is not their fault. PTSD and trauma is not their fault. None of it is unless they’re the actual entity that assaulted you, or caused the damage to you. If you want to live in a safe place, do your homework and move there in the first place.
    Worried Mom: if someone stuck a shotgun in your son’s face, call the police. If it’s so bad in that neighborhood, and would be safer to move, then pay out the lease or the required re-let fee and move. Many apt’s will allow you to pay out a % of a lease or 1 to two months worth of rent and break the lease without legal repercussions.

    The lease is a contract that you enter into. While it does stipulate and hold you to certain standards, it also holds the landlord to standards as well. To know what they are, READ the lease WELL. In Texas we have something called “Red Book” that outlines what a landlord or resident can and can’t do.


  6. December 06, 2012 at 7:40 pm, gailM said:

    I moved in to an apartment. Everything seemed quiet. I Told landlord I was a quiet person. The first night a bunch a drunk teenagers right outside started fighting, I’m in a crime watch historical district. Then the neighbors across the hall were neglecting their toddler he would cry endlessly everyday. Their dogs also barked everyday as well. I couldn’t sleep because of toddler crying and they would play their music loud to drown him out. I still live here. I was so concerned I was told by owner to call the maintence/assistant landlord for any problems. I did and he didn’t do anything. So, I called police one disturbing eve on child crying. Police came told her to turn down music city ordinance. Then owner got upset printed rules&regulations and sent them out to tenants. Please control animals and noise. Well,the neighbors haven’t listened and its posted in hallways too. I tell maint/assistance he call tell them to cool it. They still keep it up. I wrote landlord with dates/times of chid,music,slamming doors late at night.I sent it certified he get it in a day. I don’t know what to think? Or what will happen I’m so unhappy these neighbors are ruthless.


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