Tenant’s Rights When a Landlord Breaks the Rental Lease Agreement

Tenant's Rights When a Landlord Breaks the Rental Lease Agreement

When entering a lease agreement, no renter expects this contractual agreement will end badly; however, there are many instances where the lease agreement is broken by the landlord. Although lease agreements are typically manufactured to protect the landlord and his assets, state and local laws are designed to provide renters with a safe living environment and ample time to make new living arrangements in the event the lease agreement is broken or terminated by the landlord. Before making any decisions, it is best each renter reviews the landlord-tenant laws for his state of residence.

What Are the Landlord’s Responsibilities?

Before moving on, it is important every renter understand what the primary responsibilities of a landlord include. Although specific responsibilities may be altered according to state laws, the following valid in all 50 states:

  • Pay for and perform repairs on the property in a timely manner
  • Never disconnect gas, electric or water due to non-rent payment unless otherwise stated on the lease agreement or approved under state laws
  • Provide a safe living environment for renters
  • Follow all state laws regarding landlord responsibilities

How a Landlord Can Break a Lease Agreement

Of course, there are numerous ways a landlord can break a lease agreement between him and his tenant(s); however, the following is the most common ways a landlord breaks this legally binding agreement:

  • Performs an action that is strictly prohibited on the lease agreement, such as entering the apartment without proper notification or changing door locks while tenant is still legally living in the apartment
  • Does not follow through with the responsibilities agreed upon in the lease
  • Does not maintain a habitable and safe living environment for tenants
  • Does not return the security deposit in the specified amount of time as outlined by state laws

Tenant’s Rights

When a landlord has broken the lease agreement, a tenant may take several steps in order to rectify the situation or officially vacate the property without any damage to his credit or reputation. Before following through with any of these tips, check state laws regarding terminating a rental lease agreement.

  • Talk to the Landlord – If a landlord has broken a lease agreement, the tenant may informally speak with the landlord to rectify the situation. If the landlord corrects the issues, the lease agreement is valid once again.
  • Certified Letter – If a landlord does not rectify the situation after the tenant has approached him, the tenant should then reiterate the issue by sending the landlord a certified letter. This statement should specify what the problem is and by what date it must be rectified. Inform the landlord that failure to follow through can result in legal action.
  • Legal Action – If all other attempts to rectify the broken lease agreement go unattended to by the landlord, the tenant has the right to take legal action against the landlord. Tenants may consult with an attorney and potentially take the landlord to court to officially terminate the lease agreement or collect monetary damages