Real Estate Law
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I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
New York law allows a person over the age of 62 to break a lease without penalty if you receive notice that you've been accepted into a senior residential facility after signing the lease, or if you provide notice from a doctor that you can no longer live on your own and need to move in with a family member. NY Real Prop. Laws and Rules, Section 227-a. The landlord cannot charge you rent going forward if you leave under those circumstances. If neither of those circumstances applies, then you'd unfortunately be responsible for rent until a new tenant is found if you were to move out.
In a place with high demand, it's possible the landlord can find a new tenant quickly and won't be out any money. You'd also have the option of finding a new tenant on your own in order to reduce your liability. But the first step would be to talk to your doctor about getting a letter detailing the need for family assistance. If you can get that, you won't have to pay anything after you leave.
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I'm sorry, I misread that. I was looking at where you were asking if someone over the age of 65 can break a lease. I'm afraid that statute won't apply if you're only 41. You would be responsible for rent until a new tenant is found - but you can advertise the place yourself to try to find someone faster.
The landlord can't MAKE you stay. A person can always break a lease and move. But you were asking about breaking the lease without a penalty, which is not the same thing. You can move. They can't stop you. But they can sue for unpaid rent after you leave.
If you do not have substantial assets and your only income is disability, they will have no way to collect a judgment from you. They can report it on your credit, but they can't force you to give them money you don't have.
Me, too. I really am sorry. The thought behind the law is that, since the landlord didn't cause your illness, it's not fair for them to lose money because of it. It's different with senior citizens because the law puts them on notice that they might have to move last minute. I hope you can work something out.
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I would dearly love to tell you what you want to hear, but it doesn't help you at all if I say "Yes, you can move without penalty" and then you get sued. My job is to tell you the truth, whether you like it or not. That's what customers agree to pay us for - a polite and honest answer.
Your problem is not unique. Many tenants have to move because of medical issues. And they remain liable on the rent until a new tenant is found. Or, they advertise the place themselves and find a new tenant to avoid losing money. I absolutely agree that it's not fair for you to lose money because of your bad luck and health. But, from a legal perspective, it would be even less fair for your landlord to lose money because of your bad health. I hope you can understand that.
Did you have any other questions about this?
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