Can You Be Penalized for Breaking Your Lease if Your Home Was Burglarized?

Can You Be Penalized for Breaking Your Lease if Your Home Was Burglarized?
Your landlord may work with you after a break-in.

Legalities

The landlord and tenant laws on breaking a lease vary by state. Many states will not allow you to break a lease without consequences, even for a burglary. Some states allow you to break a lease if the burglary relates to another crime. For example, California law allows tenants victimized by stalking, sexual assault or domestic violence to end a lease early. However, the tenant must pay one month's rent before leaving, according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

Reading Your Lease

Your lease agreement includes a clause on ending the lease early. Some landlords may allow you to the end the lease if you find someone to sublet your rental, or pay an early-termination fee. Read the lease carefully before taking any action. Follow any instructions written in the lease and keep a copy of any correspondence between you and your landlord. The landlord may try to sue you after you move out, and you'll need proof that you followed the lease agreement.

Talk to Your Landlord

Your landlord may still work with you regardless of the landlord and tenant laws or your lease agreement. Private landlords often have leeway with their tenants, and your landlord might make an exception in your case. Discuss your problem with your landlord and ask if he can cut you a deal, such as a reduction of the early-termination fee. Get any agreement in writing before paying fees or moving out of the property.

Other Considerations

If you cannot afford to break your lease, or decide you want to stay in your rental, you can ask your landlord for help making the place feel more comfortable. For example, the landlord should change the locks on your property after a break-in. You can also ask for written permission to install an alarm system or deadbolts on exterior doors. Make sure you get permission in writing before proceeding with any changes.