Featured News 2013 Breaking a Lease Early

Breaking a Lease Early

Sometimes plans change, and despite a year-long lease you may find yourself needing to leave your home or apartment that you are renting from a landlord. Naturally, this can be frustrating for a landlord because you signed documents saying that you would be in the home for a set amount of time. Normally, after one year in an apartment or home, the tenant must chose to move, sign a new lease with the same or different terms, or stay on as a month-to-month tenant if this is approved of in the location. If a tenant fails to make one of these choices, then he or she may face an eviction lawsuit from the landlord.

If you signed a year-long lease and then decide that you want to move to another apartment complex, transfer because of a job, or move for another reason, you will need to talk over your situation with your landlord. In some cases, a landlord will let you break the lease and leave. It may be beneficial to the landlord if there are many applicants trying to get into the complex or if the landlord considers you a bad tenant and would be glad to be rid of you. While some landlords are accommodating to an early leave from a lease, the landlord is within his or her legal rights to refuse to grant you early leave from the lease.

According to NOLO, your lease is a contract and you are technically obligated to pay rent for the entire term. This means that you will still technically owe the entire year's rent, including the months that are left unpaid when you leave the location. Your landlord can sue you for the months of unpaid rent if he or she prefers to do so. In most states, landlords cannot wait for the term to end and then sue you for the months that you weren't there. Instead, they need to take steps to re-rent the place and credit the rent to your debt.

This means that you may still be responsible for the costs of advertising and showing the unit to another potential renter, and your landlord does not need to re-rent. He or she simply needs to make reasonable steps towards that goal. The landlord is not required to accept any applicant. It may help your situation if you can locate your own prospective tenant with great credit and reliability.

Most states require that a landlord mitigate for damages by finding a new renter for the property as soon as possible. Still, if you are breaking your rent you should expect to be forced to pay your next month's rent regardless of what the state laws are for landlords in this position. Oftentimes a landlord will demand to keep your security deposit on the home as well. If you run into complications with your landlord, you should write a letter alerting the landlord of his or her duty to mitigate.

This is a polite letter where you can remind your landlord that he or she has the obligation to search for a new tenant for the property so as to relieve you of paying your rent on the property. You can leave your apartment or home that you rent without a legally justified reason. However, if you do have a legally justified reason it will often benefit you as you negotiate with your landlord.

For example, if your landlord hinders your enjoyment of the property, or if you were called to active military service, then the landlord will have to be accommodating when you break your lease. If you run into trouble, hire a real estate attorney to help you work through your issues and successfully break your lease.

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