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Your question - Can I legally break this lease, and how do I go about it?
Yes, you can notice the property manager by letter that they either guarantee their performance of your son being able to move into the apartment on August 9th or you will have to look for another apartment to rent because it's apparent that they cannot perform as per the lease agreement and you have to look for alternative housing.
A breach may occur by Anticipatory Repudiation, whereby the promisor, without justification and before committing a breach, makes an affirmative statement to the promisee, indicating that he or she will not or cannot perform the contractual duties.
In the law of contracts, an act of God may make it impossibility or impracticability of performance. If so, the promise is discharged because of unforeseen occurrences, which were unavoidable and would result in insurmountable delay, expense, or other material breach.
An example scenario could assume that an opera singer and a concert hall have a contract. The singer promises to appear and perform at a certain time on a certain date. The hall promises to have the stage and audio equipment ready for her. However, a tornado destroys the hall a month before the concert is to take place. Of course, the hall is not responsible for the tornado. It may be impossible for the hall to rebuild in time to keep its promise. On the other hand, it may be possible but extraordinarily expensive to reconstruct on such short notice. The hall would argue that the tornado was an act of God and excuses its nonperformance via impossibility or impracticability.
So, I would write the property manager a letter stating that they realize that if the apartment is not ready for occupancy on August 9th, 2013 that they will be liable and responsible for any and all costs associated with your son staying temporarily at a hotel and paying for his living expenses until the apartment is ready for his taking possession.
That you would agree to void the lease and look for another apartment elsewhere if they will consent to agree to such.
Otherwise, if they won't agree to void the agreement - then they could be liable for any and all expenses your son incurrs while waiting for the apartment to be ready for his occupancy.
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