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If I signed a year lease in Oakland, CA with a security deposit, under what terms can the lease be broken by me (the tenant)?

San Francisco, CA |

Is it possible to back out after signing the year lease with a security deposit? Or am I on the hook for the year lease? Are there any special circumstances that would allow me to break the lease? I'm assuming unsanitary living conditions (mold in building etc.) would be one, but I'm thinking more about personal reasons for wanting to break a lease. For example, cold feet, I don't like the area after all, some sort of personal health issue etc.

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Attorney answers 3


Based on the limited information you provided, it looks like you're on the hook for the one year lease. "Cold feet" and change of heart are not sufficient reasons to break a lease. You can try to find someone else to take over the lease to mitigate the landlord's damages.

Talk to the land lord and see if he is wiling to let you out if you can get someone else in. Otherwise, it may be difficult to avoid staying out the one year contract.


You are probably on the hook. It usually takes something more severe than cold feet to get a tenant out of a lease. If you have not moved in yet, call the landlord and see if he will let you out. He might be willing. Check the guide at the link below which will give you a description of some of the valid reasons for ending a lease early. Maybe one of those exists and you just don't know it.

Kevin Samuel Sullivan

Kevin Samuel Sullivan


you can see if the landlord will let you out of the lease especially since it is a hot market for landlords. If this occurs then you need to secure a clear written waiver from the landlord of any future liability under the lease. This is something that a consultation with a lawyer would be worth pursuing. Otherwise the landlord can sue you for breach of lease and try to recover all of the rents subject to his duty to mitigate his damages by trying to rerent the property.


I agree with the other attorneys, you don't have a sufficient basis to break the lease, see if you can sublet if allowed or ask the landlord if you can agree on vacating the property and getting out of the lease?

Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.

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