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How to Break a Lease

How to Break a Lease

Tips on How to Break a Lease

Many situations arise that cause a tenant to break a lease before the contract ends.  Some people obtain jobs in a different states, some people lose their jobs, some people have to take care of ailing family members, and others faces an unlimited array of last minute decisions.  Whatever the case, there are many tips on how to break a lease.  However, before you learn how to break a lease, you should know some of your landlord’s rights.  

Landlord’s Rights

Laws regarding landlord and tenant rights vary from state to state, but most states provide at least some similar rights for landlords.  Depending on your landlord, and your state, they may be able to do the following:

1) They may ask for one or two months of extra rent or they may ask for rent until a new tenant is found.  

2) They may keep your security deposit if the state allows.  

3) If the tenant refuses to pay any additional rent, the landlord may bring the tenant to court in order to collect the rest of the rent.  

Important Steps Before Signing a Lease

As a tenant, you should take a couple of steps (if possible) before signing the lease.  These steps may determine if you can break a lease and how to break a lease in the future if you must vacate the property early:

1) Consider a month-to-month rental contract.  The disadvantages include a slightly higher rent and adjustable monthly dues.  Your landlord may not agree to a short-term lease, but if you can get your landlord to agree, you won’t be stuck in a longer lease farther down the road.  

2) Have your landlord add an early release clause in the contract.  This allows them to specify in writing what your rights are when leaving a property early.

3) Check to see if your state mandates a landlord must make reasonable effort to fill a property that was vacated because of an early lease.   

Steps on How to Break a Lease

If you aren’t in a month-to-month contract and nothing in the lease lets you break the contract early, you have several options on how to break a lease.  Some of the steps seem obvious, but they really help in negotiating with your landlord:

1) Make an appointment with your landlord and just be completely honest.  You’re landlord may be more willing to hear you out if you are completely honest and sincere.  

2) Let him or her know that you are thinking about breaking the lease as soon as possible. 

3) Ask your landlord if they allow you to sublet for the remainder of the lease.  You landlord may have to write up and sign an amendment if subletting was originally disallowed in the former lease.  

4) Show interest in helping your landlord.  Try to find a person to sublease and contact as many people as you can.  

5) Don’t vacate the premises without notifying your landlord.  You will undoubtedly run into problems if simply leave the property without proper notification.