Can a landlord break a lease to sell the property? Is this question bothering you?
You have recently rented out a property, or you have been a tenant for a while now. Either way, every tenant wishes to enjoy their residence without having to worry that they might get evicted suddenly.
Can your landlord simply decide that they will sell the property that has been rented out to you on a lease, that too while the lease has not expired?
Can you drag your landlord to court to get a legal remedy for a lease breach? Yes, you can. Federal and state laws provide both the landlord and the tenant with a distinct set of rights.
Find out what your landlord can and cannot do. To know your remedies against it, read on!
Answering: Can A Landlord Break A Lease?
When you entered into a lease agreement with your landlord, you thought it was binding on both parties. That is a general idea. However, plenty of tenants face trouble with the landlord breaking the terms of the lease and they do not know what to do. To know further on the topic, let us first make sure you know exactly what a lease is.
So, What Is A Lease?
A lease is a contract stating the relationship between the Tenant and the Landlord. The lease states that a certain property has been rented to the tenant for a specific time period in exchange for a fixed amount of rent.
The terms of the lease are legally binding on both the landlord and the tenant.
A lease may contain rules regarding rent, rent amount, pet and parking rules, electricity and water bill rules, and any other regulation that the landlord finds necessary and the tenant agrees to.
The secret to staying out of trouble while renting a property is to sign a lease that has been well thought of and properly drafted. Such a lease can best protect the interests of both the landlord and the tenant ensuring that none of the terms can be changed without consent from either party.
Do The Same Rules Apply To Rental Agreements?
If one has entered into a rental agreement, the only difference it has with a lease is that the lease is a long-term matter whereas a rental agreement is made for a short term, for instance, a month.
If the agreement has the signature of both parties, it can be considered to be binding, be it a renting agreement or a lease.
Also, Can A Landlord Break A Lease?
Legally, neither the landlord nor the tenant is allowed to break the lease. However, a landlord can break a lease agreement if there occurs one of these two conditions.
- Condition 1: The tenant does not adhere to the terms and violates the lease.
- Condition 2: There exists an early termination clause in the agreement.
A landlord can get the tenant evicted if the tenant continues to not pay rent. Also, often the landlords move into the rented properties themselves or decide to sell the property. An eviction is necessary if such is the case.
Other than these conditions, if your landlord happens to break the lease, you are entitled to legal remedies as a tenant.
When Can A Landlord Break A Lease: Lease Violation?
Violations of the conditions of a lease can be one of the most common reasons for the termination of a lease agreement. A clear view of what would constitute to be a lease violation is necessary. Let us look into them in a little detail.
Rent Is Late/Unpaid
If the lease agreement had a clause that specifically stated that a month’s rent was to be paid within
- the 15th of the month.
- or in advance.
- or within the 20th/30th.
- or whichever date has been mentioned in the agreement.
In any of these cases if the tenant knowingly pays rent later in the month, or ends up paying no rent at all, the landlord has every right to terminate the lease agreement for such express violation of a rent clause.
No Pet Policies
Pets are without a doubt adorable. If the tenant knew beforehand and signed the lease agreement knowing full well that the tenancy allows no pets, there is every chance that they might get evicted for keeping one nonetheless.
Long-Term Guests And Subletting
Mr. Bixby, the landlord, made a lease agreement in which he clearly stated that no guests of the tenant were to stay back in the rented property for more than 1 week.
A tenant becomes one after signing a lease. As someone who has already signed the lease agreement, a tenant should be well-versed with the terms of the lease. If they still decide to keep a houseguest for 1 month, they can be evicted on that ground. Thus, the lease will be broken.
Subletting, that is, renting out the rented property of which one is a tenant, is also sufficient ground for eviction and thereby, breaking the lease.
Damaging Rental Property
If the tenant ends up damaging the rental property, other than the usual wear and tear, the value of the property goes down which gives the landlord the right to evict the tenant and break the lease.
The landlord may also ask for punitive damages.
Rental Property Used For Illegal Activity
If the tenant begins to sell drugs or ammunition out of the rental property, the landlord is bound to evict him and hand him over to the police. Such violations are mostly non-negotiable.
Tenant Is Using Rental Property For Commercial Purpose
Rental property being used for commercial or other purposes which have not been agreed to in the lease can amount to termination of the lease.
Breaking Lease Before It Ends: When Can It Be Allowed?
General law states that even though a lease agreement is binding in nature, it can be broken before it ends without the landlord having to face legal trouble, for the following conditions.
When The Landlord Decides To Sell The Property.
This is the answer to your question, “ Can A Landlord Break A Lease To Sell The Property ?”
Yes, they can.
If your landlord has decided to sell the property that he has rented out to you, they can ask you, the tenant, to vacate the property even if the lease has not yet ended.
But here Is The Catch!
A landlord can only force a tenant to leave the property if there is a pre-existing clause in the lease or the rental agreement. The law can come to your rescue in such a case. The court is in most such cases bound to side with the tenant if there is no such clause in the lease.
If the landlord has decided to make renovations to their property which can threaten the safety of the tenant if they do not move out, the landlord can terminate the lease agreement.
In the Tenant’s Defense
A lot of state regulations require the landlord to provide proper notice to the tenant before asking them to move out. The tenant has the option to move to court in such states. Landlords can also decide to renew the lease once the renovations are over.
If The Landlord Moves Into The Property
Most states in the US allow for a landlord to terminate leases if they wish to move into the properties themselves. However, the law does require the landlord to provide due notice to the tenant.
The landlord also has to use this property as his primary residence. Otherwise, they can get sued.
What Can You Do If Landlord Terminates Lease Before It Ends?
If your landlord has decided to evict you, and you still have a valid lease agreement, you can move to court.
You Can Sue Your Landlord
You can visit your lawyer and serve your landlord for violating a lease agreement. If your case is strong, chances are that you will emerge victorious and end up getting damages for your troubles.
You Can Ask Your Landlord To Pay
A lot of places have the “cash in exchange for keys” option. Your landlord can work out an arrangement with you where they pay you a certain and reasonable amount as damages and in exchange, you leave the property.
Answering Common Questions!
There seem to be a few doubts about lease breaks, tenancy, and eviction. Let us address them and get some simple answers.
Ans: The rules are the same in California. A landlord can break the lease and terminate the tenancy early if there is a clear violation of the clauses of the agreement.
Ans: Florida regulations allow a landlord to break a lease when there is a clause violation by the tenant, or if the landlord has to get renovations or is moving into the property himself. For the last two cases, the landlord has to serve due notice to the tenant.
Ask Us More!
This article covers all the conditions for lease termination in detail. Let us know if you found the article helpful and do reach out to us if you have any more doubts. Tenancy laws may vary from state to state but the basic rights and duties of the tenant and landlord remain the same. This article covers all the conditions for lease termination in detail.