San Leandro, CA asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: Can I break my off campus housing lease due to covid all classes are remotely? Landlord don't agree to break lease.

I am a student transfer to UC Davis in the fall 2020. I signed a one year lease with an apartment on May. But now most of the courses are remote. And find out all my and my roommate's classes are remote after we register the classes in the middle of August. We living in Bay Area with family, due to classes are remote and covid, we are not going to move to Davis. We had email landlord, and try to negotiate with property manager for break lease. And we are willing to pay some break lease cost and forfeit the security deposit. But the property manager said no. They give us the options are find someone take over the lease or pay the whole year lease rent which is $23,880 to buy out. It is a huge amount for me a student. I had try my best to find someone, but no one want to take this responsibility. What we should do? I ask an attorney, she suggested that just not move in. Will I get sue if I am not going to move in and not pay rent? And my lease have not start yet, lease start on Sep 15.

2 Lawyer Answers
Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The best way to get out of a lease is negotiation. Obviously that has failed. The second way is bankruptcy. If you signed the lease, I assume you do not have much income, so you can get out of the lease that way. If your attorney tells the landlord that it is better to take some money rather than nothing at all, then he may change his mind. Try it out. Best of luck.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You should check into local ordinances that prevent evictions of tenants impacted by Covid. They could put you into the position of not having to pay rent and the LL not being able to evict you. Your LL thinks he has the strong hand right now but you may not have played all the cards yet. Suggest you seek the assistance of Campus Housing Dept. to advise you and if that does not work to a Tenant's rights attorney in the Davis area.

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