Can You Break a Lease Due to COVID-19? What Renters Need To Know

Are you asking yourself how to get out of a lease during COVID-19? After all, in this uncertain time of the coronavirus pandemic, many renters, eager to change their living situations, may consider breaking their lease. Some may be interested in moving from their city apartments and to less populated areas, while others may find themselves suddenly unemployed and forced to look for cheaper housing options.

But can you legally break a rental lease because of COVID-19?

Generally, it can be difficult and expensive to break a lease for an apartment. Tenants are typically responsible for paying the rent until their lease is up—so if you’re three months into a one-year lease, you’d still have to pay rent for the remaining nine months.

And the same laws still hold right now: If you end a lease early, even in the era of COVID-19, you’re still responsible for your rent until the end date in your contract.

“It’s bad news for tenants these days,” says Craig Blackmon, a real estate lawyer based in Seattle. “Generally speaking, the pandemic does not relieve a tenant from having to pay rent, even if the tenant feels compelled to move out.”

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