Q & A: Renter’s rights: can I break my lease early if I am in a domestic violence situation?

Q: Hi, I am in a bad situation. I started to let my boyfriend live here, and he’s gotten into lots of fights with me that have turned physical. Once he gave me bruises on my face, it’s been so bad that I am scare to come home. The problem is that I am on the hook for the rent, and he lives here now (even though he is not on the lease). I have started to think about getting a personal protection order on him, what else can I do? I don’t want to break the lease.

A: Michigan law has already provided an answer to your situation.

You can find the relevant law here.

If you give written notice, with documentation (the personal protection order would be the best thing to show) that you’re reasonably in fear of domestic violence, your landlord is required by law, to allow you to break your lease early. You will essentially be paying for your current month’s rent, and 30 days after the written notice is given to the landlord.

I suggest that you do obtain the PPO, serve it properly on the boyfriend (this may require you hiring a process server, money well spent), and then giving a copy of it to your landlord.

Best of luck in your situation.

nancy-ballastOriginal Posting

Nancy L. Ballast
Family Law Attorney

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