A lease is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant. A tenant can break their lease agreement if the reason is ‘legally justified.’ However, there are some situations in which breaking a lease is entirely unjustifiable. How do you determine which situations call for legal action?
Tennessee Tenant Laws
Generally, if a tenant breaks the terms of their lease, they owe the landlord the entirety of the money agreed upon in the rental terms. However, a landlord must make a reasonable attempt to find a new tenant if someone breaks their lease.
When a tenant breaks a lease, the landlord can legally seek:
- property damages;
- back rent; and
- reimbursement for attorney fees.
A landlord is allowed to withhold a tenant’s security deposit if they break the rental contract without a justifiable reason for doing so.
Justifiable Reasons for Breaking a Lease
There are instances when breaking a lease is justifiable. When this occurs, there are no legal or financial penalties.
For example, a tenant can break a lease if:
- the landlord is harassing them (landlord harassment is an attempt to pressure a tenant using aggressive methods);
- the landlord violates tenant privacy rights (a landlord cannot enter a residence without first giving 24-hour notice. If a landlord repeatedly violates this right, the tenant is considered constructively evicted and could break the lease without notice); or
- the tenant has started active military duty (The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows certain military members to break a lease if they receive a change of station order).
Patton & Pittman Attorneys Can Help!
If you are a landlord dealing with a tenant who has unjustifiably broken their lease, we can help you pursue the rent owed to you. Our landlord & tenant dispute attorneys will do everything possible to get the money rightfully owed to you.
Call our firm today at (931) 361-4477 or contact us online for your FREE case evaluation.