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My college age son and I signed a rental agreement for an apartment

with the lease to start...
My college age son and I signed a rental agreement for an apartment with the lease to start August 9, 2013 for 12 months. On June 14, there was a fire in the apartment that destroyed the kitchen at least, with smoke damage throughout. The rental company states that they will make repairs and will try to have it completed by August 9 so that my son can move in. My dilemma is that I strongly believe that they cannot get this work done in such a short amount of time , particularly since the fire and insurance investigators have not released the property yet, and contractors in a college town are always booked solid in the summer. I don't want to find out on August 8th, that they can't get the work completed and that my son will have no place to stay. I have asked the property manager for a guarantee that the apartment will be available on August 9, but they will only state that they "expect" it to be ready. I would like to break this lease before we move in so that we can secure another apartment ASAP. With classes starting in just a few weeks, there are very few decent, affordable apartments left and each day that goes by shortens that list. Can I legally break this lease, and how do I go about it?
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Answered in 23 minutes by:
6/18/2013
Law Pro
Law Pro, Lawyer
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Experience: 20 years extensive experience in real estate law, foreclosure, finance, and landlord tenant law.
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Welcome to JustAnswer! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete excellent answer for you.

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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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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
How much time am I required to give the property manager to respond to such a letter?
Given your situation - I would only give 7 to 10 days maximum - but you would know better than I how difficult it is to rent apartments for a college student.

Knowing that my daughter attends Penn State - it's difficult or next to impossible to get a decent apartment meeting the students needs on short notice or being this later or this close to the fall semester.


But if it's an "impossibility of their performance" - then you can certainly demand reassurances from them under the circumstances. If they won't give reassurances and a guarantee - then it would be your option under the circumstances (impossibility of their performance) to notice them you are voiding the agreement and seeking alternative housing elsewhere.


I would also want their assurances and guarantees that they would/will accept paying for his hotel and other expenses if the apartment isn't ready and you agree to continue with the lease agreement. That although it would be their responsibility anyway because they can't comply with the agreement - you don't want them defending because of an "act of god" legally allowing them to void the contract.


So it's completely reasonable, rational and legal to demand assurances or seek an apartment elsewhere.


Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!







Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!


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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
If I send this letter and the property manager fails to respond within seven days or gives no response at all then may we legally break the lease without penalty?
Correct - you asked for "assurances" of their anticipatory breach of the lease contract by their not being able to have the apartment ready for occupancy.

If they don't formally respond giving assurances in writing - then you can take that as an anticipatory breach of contract (that they will not be able to perform as agreed to for your son to take occupancy on Aug 9th) on their part and notice them you are cancelling/voiding the lease agreement.



Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

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Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!
Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!
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