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Can I legally break my lease without paying the fee?

Carol Stream, IL |

My lease does not end until 11/9 but I am having major health problems and need to move back home with my mom. I went to talk to my apt complex about this and I will have to pay over $3,000 to break it. I have drained all savings to pay doctor bills & they said they wont let me make payments to break it. I have no way to get the money. I said I can give them anything they need from my doctors so they know I am being truthful. Ive tried calling and leaving VMs and called corporate HQ no one will return my calls. Ive also had problems here with safety. Door locks always broken, someone tried to break into my apt and it took the police over an hour to get here. they wouldn't take information. I told this to the office they don't fix anything. Can I leave without paying to break the lease?

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Attorney answers 3


I'm assuming you live in Carol Stream (as noted in the question). Landlord-tenant law varies dramatically by city, so my answer might be different if you live elsewhere.

Simply having health problems is not grounds for breaking a lease unless the lease provides for such termination.

As for the lock problem, you might want to reference the Safe Homes Act or the Residential Tenants' Right to Repair Act to see if they are helpful. Once again, the lease may provide for a remedy here too.

The most productive decision might to be hire a landlord-tenant attorney to try to negotiate a graceful exit for you. The landlord has a duty to mitigate his loses (re-lease the unit if he can) so, if the rental market is good by you, you may not have to pay the full rest of the year's rent.

Though we strive to provide accurate legal information in our answers on AVVO, our answer should not be construed as legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Our firm only forms attorney-client relationships by written agreement signed by both our firm and the client. Please seek an in-person consultation with an attorney immediately as almost all legal matters are time sensitive and failing to meet deadlines can result in adverse consequences.


I agree with Attorney Brabender. Unless your lease allows for early termination due to health issues, it is not a basis for breaking the lease. There are statutory requirements, and possibly provisions in your lease for dealing with security issues. If you have not properly exercised them, that is also not a basis for breaking the lease.

Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


Dear Tenant with Health Problems: You should review your lease carefully. There may be a basis to terminate your lease. You may also find that there is a termination fee much less than $3,000.

As others indicated, without a provision in your Lease to contrary, health problems is not a recognized basis to terminate a lease. Nevertheless, if you do terminate the lease and tender possession to the premises on a date certain, keep good records and copies of your notices in writing and the condition of the premises at the time that you leave. The Landlord in Illinois does have a duty to take reasonable steps to mitigate damages and you will want the documentation of your conduct to support that defense in the event the Landord attempts to pursue you for collection of the remaining term on your Lease.

Hope this helps. Good luck

This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The post is only an opinion. You should speak to an attorney for further information. The poster is licensed only in IL. Please visit for more information about our services. If this post is useful to you, please remember to vote it up. Thank you.

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