Harrisonburg, VA asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia

Q: So actually it is not figured out. I signed a sublease agreement in August for a house downtown. One of the girls I

I signed a sublease agreement in August for a house downtown. One of the girls I was living with started shooting drugs and having multiple men over daily, on quite a schedule. Obviously, this is not something I wasn’t to be apart of. There were multiple men (I assume on drugs or some sort) trying to get in my room in the middle of the night, and using my shower. This just made me really uncomfortable and I decided to move out.

So I just moved out last week and found a new place.

I just moved and told her I was going to break the lease by paying double rent and gave her the key.

She told me that I am responsible for $533.33 (rent amount) till June.

I have no idea what to do! Please let me know if you have any insight, that would be much appreciated.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Elizabeth Crego
Elizabeth Crego
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: This could be a complicated situation and you may need to call a lawyer near where you live.

You cannot usually break a lease early without either (a) an agreement between you and the landlord (or, in your case, maybe the tenant from whom you are subleasing the property) or (b) a court order. It does not appear that you got either one of these here. Also, the fact that you are subleasing rather than leasing directly from the landlord adds another complication into the mix. An attorney would need to know what the original lease says about subleasing, and whether you are in an agreement directly with the landlord or with the tenant whose lease you took over.

It is not clear what your legal relationship to your roommate is. An attorney would need to know whether you pay her directly, whether you each pay the landlord separately, or whether you pay together, as well as what the lease says about how payment is made. It may be that you do not have an obligation to your roommate directly, but even in that case, you may be vulnerable to a lawsuit from her if she ends up having to pay the rent you are not paying for the rest of the lease.

The law does provide for early termination in the event of illegal activity or dangerous living situations, but you need to file in court. These court actions can be expedited faster than the typical tenant action.

Again, I would recommend calling a lawyer nearby.

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