How Bad Is It To Break A Lease?

A lease is a legal contract that requires you to pay rent for a specific period of time. But life changes like losing a job, moving for work or getting divorced can make it impossible to keep your lease.

You have the right to break your lease if you need to leave your apartment before it expires and you meet certain requirements. You have to tell your landlord why you’re breaking the lease and you must give them enough notice.

Most leases have a section that spells out the costs of breaking your lease. These usually include a fee for early termination and/or a penalty that reduces your security deposit if you break the lease early.

It’s important to note that these fees are often only a small fraction of your total monthly rent, says New York City attorney Jeffrey Ma. It’s also worth negotiating your lease terms with your landlord.

Your landlord might be willing to accept a lesser penalty than the one you’re currently facing if you have financial hardship. You might also find that your lease has a clause that says you can get out of your lease early if you have an emergency.

Another option to consider is subletting, or allowing someone else to take over your lease payments without legally binding them to the lease agreement. If this is an option, it’s best to find a tenant who has good credit and background checks.

In some states, your landlord can require that you find a replacement tenant to fill your spot and to take over your monthly payments before breaking the lease. This process is known as “mitigating the damages” and is a relatively cheap way to end a lease.

If you can’t find a replacement tenant, your landlord may send your account to a collection agency, which will report your unpaid debt to the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs). This could damage your credit score and negatively affect future applications for new apartments.

Landlords typically don’t want to lose a rent payment and will take steps to try and find a new renter, but they don’t always have the time or resources to do so. It’s worth speaking to your landlord about how much it would cost for them to hire a reputable eviction company to take over your lease and manage the search for a new tenant.

It’s also a good idea to get the conversation out of your head and onto paper. It will be easier for both parties to remember what was agreed upon, and it will also help protect your rights if the situation gets out of hand.

Taking your lease agreement to court isn’t the most ideal option, but it can be a necessary step if you need to get out of your lease early. A lawyer can explain your options, help you prepare a strong legal case and negotiate a fair settlement with your landlord.

It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, and you should always follow the law. There are some reasons why you might need to break a lease, such as health or safety violations that have to be fixed or if the property is in danger of being damaged by a natural disaster. There are also some reasons that you can legally break your lease, such as if your landlord hasn’t maintained the premises properly or if your lease was signed on a fraudulent basis.