How do I Get Out of a Lease for Renting in Minnesota?

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Tenents have the right to break a lease in Minnesota under certain circumstances.
Tenents have the right to break a lease in Minnesota under certain circumstances. (Image: Minnestoa state contour against blurred USA flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com)

A lease or rental agreement is a legally binding contract between you and your landlord. Just as you expect your landlord to provide you with housing for the duration of the lease, your landlord is counting on your rent payments for this period of time. In some cases, you may need to move due to personal circumstances, or you may feel forced to move due to a landlord's neglect. Minnesota law does provide for some leeway in terminating a lease under extreme circumstances.

Read over your lease. It may include a "breaklease" clause that lets you break your lease by paying your landlord a fee. Even if you have other grounds to break your lease, this may be the simplest and cheapest way to terminate your tenancy. If you don't have a breaklease option, check to see if your lease allows you to sublet your home.

Determine if you have grounds to break the lease. If you, or your children have reason to fear domestic violence or abuse, you may be able to terminate your lease by giving your landlord written notice and paying both the current month's rent as well as an additional amount of money equal to one month's rent.

If your landlord has violated terms of your lease, or has not met her legal responsibilities as a landlord, and you have made good faith efforts to get the landlord to do so, you may be able to move out without further obligation to your landlord. Minnesota law allows tenants to defend themselves from eviction proceedings or a lawsuit for back rent by arguing that the property was uninhabitable or that the landlord did not make required repairs. The danger in this is that your landlord may be able to convince the judge that she did not neglect her duties, and you could end up not only having to pay back rent and court fees, but with a judgment or an eviction on your credit report. In this situation, it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer to make sure that you are doing the right thing.

Contact your landlord. Explain to your landlord your circumstances and ask if it is possible to break the lease. Offer to assist the landlord in finding a new tenant. If your landlord agrees to let you out of the lease, be sure to get the agreement in writing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Give your landlord as much advance warning as possible. This demonstrates respect for your landlord and gives your landlord some breathing room. If your landlord doesn't feel pressured to find a new tenant immediately, she may be more agreeable to letting you out of the lease.

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