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Can a Landlord Break a Lease?

Landlords can only break a lease contract if the tenant violated the terms of the lease or if the lease specifically gives them the ability to end it early.


A landlord is legally allowed to break the lease in two situations: if the tenant violated one of the lease terms or if the lease has a term in it that gives the landlord the ability to break a lease in certain scenarios.

If the tenant violates the lease

Lease violations are valid reasons for a landlord to break the lease, but only if the broken lease term was valid in the first place. In this scenario your landlord has just cause for eviction and that is effectively what they are doing — even if you haven't moved in yet. Clear examples of just cause are rent nonpayment or misuse of the space.

A landlord can't put a term in the lease that isn't actually legal and then try to break the lease because the tenant violated this term. Illegal eviction happens when a landlord either fakes "just cause" for breaking the lease or uses an illegal lease term as a reason to break the lease.

If the lease stipulates that it's okay

Landlords can't change the lease after it's been signed to add a new clause so whether or not a landlord can break a lease early truly depends on the initial lease signed between them and the tenant. Of course, if the lease was a month to month lease as opposed to a fixed term lease then the landlord can end the lease at any time with sufficient notice.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.


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