HRC Disability Case - Early Lease Termination

The Housing Rights Center (HRC) recently assisted a disabled tenant with breaking his lease early without penalty or fee, based on his disability.

The tenant had lived at the property since 2011, and had re-signed a 1 year lease that would not be ending for another 8 months. The tenant found himself in the difficult situation of having to break his lease early, after his doctor recommended he move into a care facility that could better assist him with his medical needs.

In general, if a tenant breaks his or her lease early, he or she could be held liable for the remainder of the rent for that lease period, until the property is rented. The tenant made the decision to call HRC and seek help with requesting a reasonable accommodation from his landlord to break his lease early for medical reasons.

After verifying the tenant’s disability and the need for the accommodation, HRC contacted the building supervisor to make the reasonable accommodation request on behalf of the tenant. The supervisor agreed to let the tenant break the lease, but stated he would be requiring that the tenant pay a fee in order to complete the request.

HRC explained that charging a disabled tenant a fee as a condition for granting a reasonable accommodation was against the law. The supervisor insisted that he did not plan on releasing the tenant from the 1-year lease unless a fee was paid. That same day, HRC drafted and mailed a reasonable accommodation request letter to the supervisor, which included legal information about disability-related accommodations.

HRC subsequently received an email from the building supervisor allowing the tenant to break his lease early without paying additional fees. A week later, HRC was happy to hear that the tenant had successfully moved out of the property.

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