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Property Management Q & A - Can a tenant break the lease?

Real Estate Agent with Windermere Real Estate/M2, LLC

Property Management q & a

Q: A tenant of mine was the victim of a "home invasion" break-in (it was a co-worker who was mad at him for some reason that broke in). He says he is breaking his lease (he is in the first month of a 12 month lease) and moving out. Does he have the legal right to break his lease? If not, what do I do now?

A: The legislature has identified certain circumstances where a tenant has a legal right to break a lease. For example, where the landlord fails to perform a repair obligation, one of the tenant's alternatives is to terminate the lease and vacate )see RCW 59.18.090(1)).

Even where the landlord has not defaulted in his or her obligations, some tenants still have the right to termination of their lease without penalty....

In your case, the tenant was a victim of criminal conduct.... Actually, merely being victimized by criminal conduct does not constitute a legal ground to terminate a lease, whether or not the tenant is acquainted with the perpetrator....

...Christopher T. Benis an attorney with Harrison, Benis, and Spence, LLP, with offices in Seattle. The information contained herein is not legal advice. You are encouraged to consult with your attorney before relying on anything contained herein.


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Jen Hudson
206-293-1005 cell
360-652-1200 office
CCIM Candidate, CDPE, GRI, Realtor
Windermere Real Estate/M2, LLC
Want to learn more about real estate? Visit my website at www.jenhudsonhomes.com