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How to End a Lease Because of Domestic or Sexual Violence

Housing

How to End a Lease Because of Domestic or Sexual Violence

Date Posted: 
05/02/2014

Are you a victim of domestic or sexual violence? Do you need to get out of your lease early because of the violence? Philadelphia Ordinance § 9-804 lets you.

To end your lease early, you must:

  1. Send a letter to your landlord giving him 30-days notice that you are ending your lease early. 
  2. Attach to the letter one form of documentation of the violence (police report, protection order, letter from a doctor or victims’ services organization).
  3. Send the letter certified mail, return receipt requested and keep a copy of the letter.
  4. Move out within 30 days, remove your belongings and return your keys to your landlord.
  5. You are responsible for paying rent through the end of the 30 days, even if you move out sooner.
  6. Once you move out, you should send your landlord a letter asking for your security deposit back.  Send the letter certified mail, return receipt requested and keep a copy.
  7. Your landlord cannot keep your security deposit because you broke your lease early due to domestic or sexual violence.  If your landlord refuses to return your security deposit, you can sue in Small Claims Court.

If you need legal help, contact our housing unit.

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