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Want to break your lease? Here's how to do it

Posted at 10:16 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 09:06:29-05

PHOENIX — You've let your landlord know about the problem.

But it still isn't fixed.

Can you break your lease?

Pamela Bridge with Community Legal Services says yes. But only after you've done your part.

"You have to give proper notice before you break that lease," she says.

Let's say you've got a leak.

Proper notice means giving the landlord a written 10 day notice to repair it. If safety is an issue they get 5 days. Even less time if it's an emergency.

Still no fix?

"You are allowed to terminate your lease," she says.

Another situation where the law allows you to leave is,"if the landlord is coming into your apartment unreasonably," Bridge says.

That means showing up without notice or to the point of you feeling harassed.

Bridge says you can also break your lease if you're a law enforcement officer with injunctions of protection, military personnel with deployment orders, or a victim of domestic violence.

"If they (the victim) can document that they are a victim and the incident happened within 30 days," she says.

Using the law doesn't mean the landlord won't sue but if gives you a much better chance of winning if they do.

"Go to court and tell the judge that you gave the landlord notice to fix something and that they didn't fix it and that's why you left your unit," Bridge says.

Remember the laws does not allow withholding rent.

And make sure you if you are sued, you show up to court.

Otherwise you'll get a default judgment and that eviction stays on your rental record.