What To Do When Your Landlord Breaks Your Rental Agreement

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Your rental agreement, a legally binding contract between you and your landlord, can’t be broken by your landlord unless you have breached it in some way. Understanding why the landlord has broken the agreement, and the steps you need to take, will help minimize any damage to your rental history.

Why Landlords Break Rental Agreements

Landlords break rental agreements when they believe that your tenancy is problematic. Their reasons will vary, but generally they revolve around issues which are non-negotiable. Any action that could create problems for your landlord or neighbors can cause your landlord to terminate your rental agreement.

Non-Payment of Rent

The most common reason your landlord will break your rental agreement is non-payment of rent. In this case, your landlord will serve you with a formal notice stating that your rent is overdue. If you don’t pay it, you will face eviction. Some states have an expedited process for evicting tenants who are behind in their rent. Check your state’s laws to anticipate how much time you have to act.

Typically, the notice will give you a week to pay the overdue rent. If you fail to pay within that time frame, your landlord will begin eviction proceedings. Unless you absolutely cannot pay your rent, it is advisable to pay the rent as soon as possible to avoid eviction.

Violations of Rental Agreement Terms

The second most common reason your landlord will break your rental agreement is for violation of one of the terms of the agreement. An example would be keeping a dog in an apartment that prohibits pets. Other examples of violations involve safety or health-related issues such as not keeping the apartment clean or dealing drugs.

As with non-payment of rent, your landlord will give you written notice stating the nature of the violation. Unless you’ve had a history of similar violations, your landlord should give you an opportunity to correct the problem.

When violations involve the safety of other tenants, your landlord will want you to leave. For all other matters, try working with your landlord to correct the situation. Avoid ending an apartment rental agreement by having the landlord evict you due to negative actions on your part. An eviction will tarnish your rental history, making it more difficult for you to rent apartments in the future.

Disputing Your Landlord’s Decision to Break the Lease

At times, you may believe that your landlord is wrong to break the lease. If you can’t work things out and you want to protect your reputation, rental history and credit rating, consider filing a counter-claim. Doing so may stop the eviction proceedings or allow you to prevail.

You may have grounds for your counter-claim under your state’s consumer protection laws, particularly if you can prove that your landlord’s decision to evict you is retaliatory. You may also have a claim if your landlord failed to maintain the property in accordance with your state’s housing codes. Before taking any action, check your state’s laws, and if you decide to proceed, contact a lawyer who specializes in evictions to assist you.

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Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.

5 Responses to “What To Do When Your Landlord Breaks Your Rental Agreement”

  1. October 16, 2010 at 1:21 pm, Justin Butterick said:

    My land loard is suppose to pay the water it is in my lease he hasn’t paid it in several months, i recieved a large bill from the water company. what do I do
    Sincerely Justin Butterick

    Reply

  2. September 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm, dawn v said:

    my apartment community has a 25lb and under pet rule and this is why i chose here. my 8 year old son is afraid of larger dogs. this complex has pitbulls, and many other 100lb breeds and as a result my son is not able to go out to play, wlak from his school bus or get mail. I have had many other issues with this complex as well and am always told “sorry that’s why ____employee fired_____ is no longer working here. SO each time i start working towards a problem, the employee i spoke with is fired and I am told i never sent acomplaint in. As far as the pet rule…it is not my fauly i have to relocate due to these large animals that the office says “they dont see” but the owner of the complex still wants me to pay 2 months rent to terminatemy lease. in addition tothat, they will not give me anything in writing, so i am expected to vacate as if i am just leaving without telling them. please help…single mom .

    Reply

  3. October 07, 2012 at 10:38 am, David W said:

    I sighed a 1 year lease 3 moths ago. I was told today 10/7/12 that she is selling the house. What are my options?

    Reply

  4. November 02, 2012 at 8:21 pm, Heidi said:

    It says in our lease that the landlord will fix anything that is broken. He has yet to fix the leaky roof, turn the heat on and also fix the fuses. We have been calling him and text messaging him for 1 month now and NOTHING!

    Reply

  5. January 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm, christina said:

    My landlord went into the house without my permission. When I clearly states in the contract signed by me and the landlord that she isn’t able to come in without permission. What can I do???

    Reply

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