Elwood, IN asked in Contracts for Indiana

Q: 3 years left in my lease but I want out!

I signed a 5 year lease, my landlady is a friend. But if anything needs fixed she sends her son, who by the way is not licensed to do any of it. He usually will show up very late around 8 PM or later to fix things. I get up at 3 AM to go to work each day mind you. Some things that need fixed are big expenses like the house needs a new roof, the neighbors keep asking me if she is going to ever paint the house, the basement had cracks and water comes in every time it rains. But anytime we mention anything she says that's a big expense. Hello its a house that you bought yes you will have to put money in it!!! My final straw was when she sent her grandson (who had never done pluming before) to replace our bathroom sink that had been breaking apart. I had told her it was ok because she said he had watched his dad do it lots of times, but I have had enough. We got approved & put an offer on a house but I dont know about breaking our lease, loan officer said long term leases never hold up.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michael R. Smith
Michael R. Smith
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Licensed in Indiana

A: I sometimes tell my business clients that they need a lawyer, an accountant, an insurance broker, and maybe a banker and that they should never trust one of them to do the job of another. I tell them I can't tell them what insurance policy to buy, and they shouldn't get their legal advice from their accountant....or in this case a banker. I respectfully disagree with your loan officer's opinion. Long term leases are no less enforceable than any other. The only difference I can think of is that an oral agreement may work for a short term lease, but a long term lease may need to be in writing. Technically, a lease with a term of over three years is supposed to be recorded, but that doesn't have any practical significance unless the landlord sells the property.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you whether you have a way out of this particular lease based solely on the information in your question. For that, you'll need to consult a lawyer who will need more information, including a copy of the lease. That said, you should consider the possibility of negotiating a mutually agreeable termination of the lease, particularly given that your landlord is a friend. Even if you have a right to terminate unilaterally, doing it by mutual agreement could go a long way toward preserving the friendship.

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