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Can a landlord terminate a lease agreement early?

Discussion in 'Rental Agreements & Subleases' started by CryFive, Oct 2, 2019.

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  1. CryFive

    CryFive Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Rhode Island
    I own a single family in RI with a legal basement in-law/accessory unit currently being rented (1 year lease) which ends in Spring. My in-laws health has rapidly declined as of late and we would like to move them cross country to be with us. Is there any way for me to legally terminate my lease with my renters? If so, how?
    Thanks!
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Read your contract/lease which should answer your question.

    Usually a LL can offer relocation assistance and money to vacate the unit earlier in order to incentivize tenants to leave before the lease expires.

    However, you can't FORCE your tenants out.

    The tenants can say, even if you offered them $25,000, no thanks, we're staying until our lease expires.
     
  3. KatDini

    KatDini Well-Known Member

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  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Your first step may be to have a polite conversion with the tenants and determine if they are agreeable to leaving early due to your circumstances. You might find that they want to leave early, or will agree if offered a financial incentive.
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    The only way to legally terminate the lease early would be if the current tenants agree. You may need to agree to pay some or all of their moving costs.
     
  6. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    As others have said, the first place to look is at the terms and conditions of your lease. Contracts exist - to define rights and responsibilities. Consider the following question: why would someone agree to sign a one year obligation to pay you rent (without a discount) if they could also be evicted at any time? What is the promise in return for their agreement to be bound to pay you for one year?

    A contract reflects a "meeting of the minds" - terms which each party finds acceptable. The renter / tenant agrees to be obligated - legally required - to pay you a full year's rent in exchange for your promise - your guarantee - that they can stay and use the premises uninterrupted for the year. Now if you wanted to have an option such as you suggest for early termination as an option, it would seem obvious that such a condition would lower the value of having the property secured for the year.

    This situation happens often which is why such options are included in a lease when anticipated. My sense is that you will need to negotiate and may also provide a reminder that you will not be renewing the lease given the circumstances. As it's not personal in nature, it's possible that your tenants might be amenable if you help pay the expenses they would incur later anyway. Good luck.
     

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