If you sign a lease to rent a property (house, apartment, etc.) and break the lease, i.e. stop paying on the lease prior to the end of the agreement, you will be held responsible for duration of that lease (as a general rule). There appears to be an exception for victims of domestic violence (DV). In this article in the Los Angeles Times, Molly Current summarizes its basic requirements. Once you give your landlord a 14-day notice in writing that you intend to terminate the lease early, you must then give the landlord one of the following:
(1) A copy of your restraining order (temporary or permanent);
(2) Police report showing that you have filed a complaint alleging DV;
(3) Documentation from a third party showing that the DV victim is getting help for being victimized.
Note that this is a summary of the law just to let our clientele know it is out there. Last thing someone who is being abused needs to worry about is a choice between getting beat or having to pay two rents.
For more detail, please call me or refer to CC section 1946.7. If you need help dealing with your landlord, including, but not limited to, sending him the 14-day notice, please give us a call at 310-500-9334.