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When you sign a lease, it is binding even if the University assigned your son with roommates. A couple of options, many times these places will allow residents to trade roommates, you might have you son check into that. Next, he needs to read the lease and see if subleases are allowed. If so, he could find a person to take his place and not have to break the lease. In the same area, your son could also find a viable replacement and not sublease but break his lease and have an immediate replacement. Let me explain, when you break a lease you technically owe the landlord rent until the end of the lease, but the landlord cannot "double dip" which means to charge your son rent because he broke the lease and also rent the property to a new tenant. So your son would no longer be liable for breaking the lease if a new acceptable roommate moves in. He should really speak to management and see what his options are and if they will, under the circumstances let him break the lease, trade roommates or replace a roommate. I think you will find that some landlords are very understanding (some are not). To answer your question, no your son cannot break the lease under these circumstances without consequences unless he has permission.
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You are going to have to make a deal with the landlord and see if any of the other options I listed are available.
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