Breaking Your Lease Agreement
When a landlord and a tenant agree on the terms of a residential lease, a contract must be signed in order to provide a standard set of rules for both parties. Generally, these lease contracts will designate important guidelines, such as how long the tenant will occupy the space, how much rent he or she will be charged, acceptable behavior, etc. When violations of these rules occur, the procedure for breaking the lease should be adequately outlined and adhered to. For example, if a tenant signs a lease that prohibits noise disruptions during week nights and then the landlord receives multiple complaints about loud parties, the lease will generally state that the landlord has the right to terminate the lease.
Unfortunately, there are a number of ways in which lease agreements can be violated by both tenants and landlords during the termination of a lease. This can lead to bitter disputes in which either or both parties seek compensation for damages.
Acceptable Reasons to Break Your Lease
If you are a tenant who wants to end your lease early, you may have a few options. Certain circumstances will hold up as acceptable reasons for terminating a lease early. These include:
- Commencement of active military duty
- Sexual assault or stalking
- Health or safety code violations
- Harassment by landlord, including violations of privacy
Each of these reasons have been found acceptable in Texas courts for early termination of a lease agreement, and they may be all you need to get out of your lease early as well.
Landlord Duty to Rent
When a tenant breaks a lease early for an acceptable reason, Texas law prohibits the landlord from sitting back and collecting a check. Rather, the landlord must take certain steps to re-rent the unit in order to remove the burden of rent payment from the tenant. A landlord who fails to seek a new tenant is in violation of this rule, and the tenant may be released from the responsibility to pay for the months after he or she has moved out.