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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12410
Experience:  JD, MBA
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we have signed a lease and have planned on moving in on Oct

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My husband and I have signed a lease and were planning on moving in on Oct 1.  We have received our copy of lease that we signed and my husband has decided to end our marriage and I cant afford place on my own what are my options.  The landlord says he will not let us out of the lease.  We have not paid him anything nor taking possession of the said property. Please help me I have no idea what to do.

Hello,Customer and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

I've got a little bit of bad news, but mostly good news regarding this situation.

The bad news is that your split with your husband is not a viable reason to cancel the lease. The fact that you have not taken possession or paid anything is also not a viable reason to cancel the lease. When the lease was signed, a contract was created, and both you and your husband have a legal obligation to perform (i.e., pay rent).

However, the good news is that if you give your landlord written notice that you intend to break the lease, then your landlord has a legal obligation to find new tenants to replace you. Unfortunately, you must pay rent until new tenants are found because of what I wrote above about you still being liable for the lease, but if your landlord does not make a good faith effort to find tenants, then you are not responsible for the rent. This means that your landlord must take the same steps he took to find you as a tenant, such as possibly using advertisements, signs, a real estate agent, etc. So, either a new tenant must be found, in which case you would no longer be responsible for the lease, or if your landlord does not attempt to find a new tenant, then you can get out of the lease that way. Of course, you may also attempt to find a tenant yourself to help speed the process. I would also ask the landlord to inform you of his methods for finding a new tenant so that you can keep tabs on him. With a bit of luck, it may be possible to find a tenant within a few days or a couple of weeks.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To VAMD" in the subject line of your question.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I personally can not afford the rent alone and neither can my husband what would our penalties be if the lease is broken.

Hello again.

Until a new tenant is found (and assuming your landlord makes a good faith effort to find a new tenant), then you and your husband are responsible for the rent. In addition, if you fail to pay the rent, then the lease may allow the landlord to also collect a late fee and legal fees if he were to sue you. You will have to look at the lease for those details. If the lease does not specifically allow the landlord to collect late fees and legal fees, then you would not owe them.

So, the botXXXXX XXXXXne is that the lease controls what exactly you owe, but at the least it will be the rent. Does that help to clarify? Please let me know.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok now say my husband moves in and after two months or so finds he can't not afford the rent and needs to leave does the same thing apply. Or the landlord decides to evict him for none payment then what would happen.
Hello again.

Yes, my answers above apply whether you both move in, then leave, whether just one of you moves in, then leaves, or whether neither of you ever moves in.

Additionally, please note that in your scenario in which your husband moves in, but you do not, you would still be legally liable for the rent since you signed the lease. Accordingly, if your husband stopped paying rent after a couple of months and is evicted, your landlord can choose to go after you as well for unpaid rent.

Does that help clarify?
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