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When can a tenant vacate a lease agreement without a penalty?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2022 | Real Estate Law |

When you append your signature on a lease agreement, you hope to reside on the property through the tenancy period and possibly renew your contract. Unfortunately, this is not always a guarantee.

A lease is a legal contract, meaning that both the landlord and the tenant are bound by its terms for the agreed period. However, a tenant may legally terminate their lease agreement under a given set of circumstances.

Here are legal grounds upon which a tenant may want out of a lease agreement.

When the property is unfit for habitation

Every landlord has a duty to ensure that their rental property is fit for human habitation. This involves making sure that the property is structurally sound, has a functioning heating and cooling system and meets the state’s health and safety codes.

If the unit you are renting does not meet the set health codes, you may inform the landlord about the faults that need repair. If the landlord fails to make these repairs, or if the home degenerates to the point that it is unlivable, then you may vacate the lease agreement without facing further consequences. This is known as “constructive eviction” under California law.

When the landlord is unruly

A landlord is deemed unruly when they repeatedly violate your privacy and the right to enjoy the property you have rented from them. The law requires landlords to provide tenants with adequate notice before gaining entry into the rental property. And even then, they can only access your home on justifiable grounds such as when fixing a problem or when showing the home to a potential tenant or buyer. If the landlord attempts to access your home without notice, lock you out of the property or turn off your utilities, then you have the right to exit the lease agreement without facing the penalties.

Every tenant has certain rights and privileges under the law. Find out how you can protect your rights and interests when vacating a lease agreement.