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Can I break a lease for medical reasons?

Chicago, IL |

Recently I became unable to walk distances or to climb stairs. My apartment building has stairs only--no elevator--so it is very difficult to get to my apartment. Also, the walk to public transit is too long and I can barely make it to work. Is there any way I can break my lease due to medical issues? How much time, etc do I need to provide? If this isn't possible, is there another way to terminate the lease early? I received a message that my lease is expiring "soon" after new management took over. The only lease I've signed doesnot expire until 4.30.2011...does "soon" come before that?

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Attorney answers 2


If you have a medical condition, a landlord is usually legally required to make "reasonable accommodations" for you. Explain your condition in writing and provide a doctor's note. At the end of the letter ask for an apartment on the first floor, a chair lift, or permission to find another place.


Breaking a lease is possible provided the leaseholder is agreeable and understands the tenants medical reasons leaving. You'd better have your medical records that show your change of circumstances (distance walking and stair climbing restricted by your doctoreetc..) before you take any next step.

Then, the best thing to do is to contact your landlord and let her or him know that you desire to get out of the lease for good reason. If the tenant is upfront with the landlord, there may be a better chance he or she would be willing to help.

As for the definition of "soon" it is possible next April is considered soon by the new management.