How Do I End A Lease?

For a monthly lease, at least 30­days notice before the rent due date is required but notice must be given for the first of the month. For example, if rent is due on the first, notice given on June 15 is effective for ending the lease on July 31, not for ending it on July 15. If you have a lease for a fixed period of time, it usually converts to a month­to­month lease after the fixed period has expired. If the tenant leaves before the lease has expired, the landlord has an obligation to try to rent the unit; but if he or she cannot do so, the tenant signing the lease is responsible for the full term of the lease.

If one of the parties violates the conditions of the lease or the landlord­tenant law, the lease may sometimes be terminated.

If the tenant fails to pay the rent, the landlord may notify the tenant the lease will end if the rent is not paid within three days. For failure to comply with terms and conditions other than payment of rent, the tenant must be given 14 days to correct the offending behavior.

If the tenant believes the landlord is not fulfilling duties under the lease, the tenant must give the landlord notice of the problem and 14 days to correct it.

In the case of serious or repeated violations, either party may choose to end the lease. Depending upon the circumstances, either the landlord or the tenant may be able to recover damages and reasonable attorney fees. All notices should be in writing between the landlord and tenant. The parties should date the notice and keep a copy.

The landlord cannot withhold personal property of the tenant, shut off utilities to the rental unit, change keys to lock the tenant out of the rental unit, nor forcibly remove the tenant. The landlord must go through court, and the sheriff then moves or locks the tenant out. The tenant cannot withhold rent except under very limited circumstances.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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