Lesson 7 - What if the renter wants to end the lease early and move out?
If a landlord does not respond quickly with repairs the renter may want to end their lease early and move out entirely. There is a specific timeline renters must follow to end their lease legally.
Renters may also want to end their lease early and move out if there the issue was caused by someone who is not a renter or an employee of the landlord, the landlord has reasonably tried to fix the issue, and is unable to fix it for reasons beyond the landlord’s control.
Sometimes when a landlord fixes an issue, it can be a temporary fix. The issue may come back and cause problems again. If the issue was fixed, and has come back within 6 months, renters have different rights. Learn more about repeat issues in Lesson 9.
Renters should make sure they have already told their landlord about the issue in writing. Review how to write a first letter in Lesson 3. Once a landlord receives this first letter from their renter about a breach in the Warranty of Habitability law, they are required to:
- 1.Respond to the renter within 24 hours
- Include a plan for resolving the issue
- An estimate of when the work will start
- An estimate of when the work will be finished
- 2.Start fixing the issue within 96 hours (or 24 hours if it’s an emergency issue)
- 3.Finish fixing the issue without unnecessary delay
If a landlord is not responding on time and the renter wants to end their lease and move out, then the renter needs to send a second letter to their landlord. This second letter gives the landlord one last opportunity to fix the issue within 5 business days. Renters can use our free form to create this second letter, telling their landlord that they would like to end their lease early and move out. If the landlord does not start fixing the issue within 5 business days of getting this second letter, the renter can move out.
Landlords can request in the lease that renters communicate with them in a specific way. They may ask for a letter in the mail, an email, or even a text message.
- 1.If a lease says renters must communicate in a specific way, you should use that method.
- 2.If the landlord does not specify in the lease, you should communicate the way you have in the past.
- 3.If you have not communicated with your landlord in the past, you can send your letter
- In an e-mail
- With certified mail or USPS first class
- If you live in an apartment, you can also bring the letter to the business
If a landlord has not responded or started to fix the issue on time required after getting the first letter, a renter can send a second letter about ending their lease. This second letter gives the landlord 5 business days to start fixing the issue. If the landlord starts fixing the issue within 5 business days, the renter can NOT end their lease early. If the landlord does not start fixing the issue after 5 business days, the renter can end the lease and move out in the next 10 to 30 days and end their lease. Renters can send a third letter to their landlord, letting them know that 5 business days have passed and what date the renter will be moving out. This letter is optional but recommended. Renters can use our free form to create this third letter to their landlord.
If it has been more than 30 days or if you have questions about how this applies to your situation or if you need additional help, you can contact the Colorado Poverty Law Project.