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Can A Landlord Break a Lease?

The Ins and Outs and of Getting Kicked Out of An Apartment

There are many aspects of being a renter that are awesome (maintenance teams and amenities, hello!), but the feeling that a landlord can evict you at any time can be haunting even if, for the most part, it is an irrational thought.

In many ways, it can feel like you are on the goodwill of your landlord. If you have an honest and genuine landlord, this can be great. But, if you start realizing halfway through your lease that your landlord has control issues, things can get a little tense.

Maybe you are two days late on a rental payment? Is that enough for your landlord to break your lease? Maybe you have some people over one night and a neighbor complains and you are left wondering: can landlords evict me just because of a neighbor’s complaint? Maybe you snuck a pet into your not so pet-friendly apartment and was caught? Is this grounds for legal action by your landlord to kick you out?

In order for a landlord to terminate a lease, you have to break the lease.

In order for a landlord to terminate a lease, you have to break the lease. For a responsible renter, this should be an assuring fact, since you are provided with the lease agreement when you rent your apartment. For an irresponsible renter that acts outside of the rules that the lease states, this may be discouraging since your landlord can terminate the lease and evict you.


Basically, if the lease states a rule, abide by it.

If your lease doesn’t say anything about, say, having to keep indoor plants on plates to prevent water damage, you won’t have to worry about your landlord breaking your lease. They might be angry and tell you not to do it again, but they will not be legally-backed to evict you.

If your landlord does have legal grounds to breaking your lease, remember that there is a process behind it. They cannot just say “you’re evicted” and tell you that you have to have all of your stuff out of the apartment in three days. Instead, landlords have to abide by the legal process (which takes time) and have the legal documents ready. Make sure to check your state laws about the eviction process, since they vary. In most states, you will still have to receive a 30 day eviction notice to vacate the property.

If, on the rare occasion, your landlord takes you to court, they win the case and if they end your lease, you will still have a few days afterwards to move your stuff. But when it comes to this, it’s best to move on as fast as possible.

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