Can I Break My Lease in New York Over Coronavirus Concerns?

Due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and mounting financial difficulties in places where rent is high but unemployment is rampant, many renters in New York City and other densely populated cities are wondering if they can break their lease and move to more remote areas or move in with family. Some landlords are accommodating tenant requests, but if your landlord will not let you break your lease or have someone take it over you may wonder what your options are. 

Consequences of Breaking a Lease

If you decide the best solution for you is to break your lease, you are responsible for the balance of rent that remains on the property under the lease until a new tenant moves in. Though landlords must make a good faith effort to find another renter for the property, the shelter in place orders currently in effect mean it is likely much more difficult than normal to find a replacement because less people are looking to rent apartments in heavily populated cities. 

If you do break your lease, your landlord may file a lawsuit when the courts reopen for the balance of the lease. It might be possible to negotiate a settlement after the suit begins and only pay a portion of what you owe. 

Alternative Solutions

If you want to get out of your lease but do not want to break it right away, you might be able to pursue alternative solutions with your landlord directly to see if you can reach a mutually agreeable solution. It’s advisable for you to first speak with your landlord to see if you can reach a deal that works for both of you. It may be helpful if you can figure out an amount that you’re comfortable giving up or can afford to part with as an alternative to breaking your lease. Some landlords might be willing to let you out of your lease if you forfeit your security deposit or rent for a month or two as a compromise, freeing you up to leave without facing legal action. 

New York Real Estate Attorney

Renters in New York right now are facing difficult decisions because of financial difficulties or concerns over staying healthy during a pandemic in a crowded city. In order to make sure you’re exploring all your options  and making the wisest possible decisions for your situation, contact the experienced New York real estate attorneys at MOWK Law today. We can help you exercise your rights so you can try to make the best of an uncertain, unfortunate situation. Contact us today to get your questions answered and make sure someone is looking out for your interests.