Landlord verbally agreed to break lease, won’t put it in writing…what to do??

Our business has two years left on its lease. The building is a dump, to the point where I cannot conduct business here and people have turned down jobs because of the state of disrepair of the building. When I signed the lease I included a letter stating I was signing on the condition that specific things get fixed. They have not gotten fixed. I went in last month with a laundry list of repairs that needed to be done and demanded a timeline. He said he would cancel our lease, no cost to us. A month ago I gave him a letter releasing us to sign, he has not yet returned it. I had our attorney follow up, who told him he gave us his word that he would cancel the lease. He promised our attorney he would write something up, then never did. I contacted the landlord today and he said he was working on putting something in writing, but he is really busy. I am beyond frustrated – what can I do here??

Posted in Landlord Tenant Law.


  1. get it in writing, ive been screwed by enough landlords and their “verbal agreements”.

    even if they seem like they wouldnt pull anything, money talks, bullsh*t walks. theyll do it for a few bucks.

  2. Sounds like you need a new attorney, too, if he’s not giving you advice on this. You already know the landlord will do nothing to follow up, either out of procrastination, laziness, or greed. You may need to sue him to get action, for breach of contract (not fixing what was in the lease to get fixed) and include damages of lost business, moving costs, etc.

  3. Take the letter you wrote up with to him and if possible bring the lawyer. Or have the lawyer make an appointment with him. He’s busy, but no one is so busy they can’t take 5 minutes to sign a piece of paper. Your old contract states it has to be fixed, and it wasn’t. The landlord broke the contract. So if you can take pics or something, get out of it and if he tries to give you issue, show the letter stating he had to repair it and the dated pics of what wasn’t repaired.

  4. Keep a clearly-documented paper trail of everything. And ask your lawyer if you can just walk away. Ask if you can stop paying rent (to use up your security deposit).

  5. Ugh. What a pain.

    Maybe ask your attorney if he can write something up for the landlord to sign, or for advice on what you should include in such a document.

    Even if you just moved out right now there’s no judge in the land that would side with the landlord if he ever took it to court. Slumlords are the bread and butter of small claims.

  6. Go back into the office of the landlord and ask why havent he/she write out the lease for it to be cancelled like hint around to it just say i understand your are extremely busy but can you get that for me as soon as possible and if he/ she is busy the landolord might slip and say it while your there so what you do is go in there with a recorder and see what you can get out of the landlord then give to your attorney if your get enough evidence and see what happens from there to have enough evidence ya know see if that will work i tried 🙂

  7. You need to look for clauses in the lease that the owner is in violation of and go from there. For example, if the lease requires the landlord to have the building maintained, and they aren’t doing it, that breaks the lease. If the landlord isn’t violating the lease, both parties must honor the lease. There’s something fishy going on to indicate why the landlord is refusing to put the offer to break the lease in writing. I would, at the very least, talk to an attorney. The money you spend in legal bills may be worth it, in the long run. A verbal agreement by the landlord may hold up if you had an impartial witness.

  8. Need to let the lawyer handle it as he has violated the original terms of the orignal lease agreement. He breached the original contract so discuss your options with the lawyer.

  9. I would send a letter giving him 30 days notice that you are vacating the premisis with an explanation as to why. If he sues you, ( which he probably will) I would consider countersuing for the costs of lost business you have incurred due to his failure to repair the things he said he would repair.

    At some point, you have to balance your loss of buisness revenue with keeping your agreement. Losing business just to keep from getting sued on a lease agreement does not make financial sense and I would take steps to protect my business interests and reputation. You have to move your business in order to do that.

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