Q: Covid19: unable to start newly signed apt. lease. College student moved home in March and can't return for summer/fall.
A friend of ours is a student at San Diego State, but had to move home in March because of Covid-19. Anticipating returning for school in the summer/fall semesters, he recently signed an apartment lease (w/No deposit yet) with three other students. However, California State schools have just announced that college will now be online for summer/fall 2020 and he will not be returning to San Diego, but continuing school at home, nearly 300 miles north. The landlord says that they will not let them out of the lease. I have researched and found plenty on existing rental/lease eviction, etc. but nothing on getting out of a lease, not entered into, due to Covid reasons. Is there any protection for them yet or is this still too new?
A: If the lease has been fully executed and there is no early termination clause or some other termination clause then it appears you have a tenancy for the term of the lease. This is the exact purpose of a lease - to provide the landlord and tenant certainty for a set price and term.
Best option may be to review have the lease reviewed by an attorney and perhaps try and negotiate an early exit.
Alternatively - hope that cal state resumes for winter session.
Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer
A: Covid 19 is a first in a litany of cases that will ensue in the future, however the theory for your friend’s termination of the lease is not new. The first that comes to mind is Frustration of purpose. Your friend”s only reason he signed the lease was because he was attending the San Diego State University . Since the University has canceled classes have been suspended, then your friend may be excused from his obligation under the lease. Best of luck.
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