What To Do When a Tenant Breaks the Lease

break a lease

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It’s frustrating dealing with broken leases. Your renter has signed a lease to occupy the unit, abide by rules, and pay rent for the agreed time period, but then notifies you that they want to break the lease before the renewal deadline. It’s time to deal with an unexpected vacancy and iron out the financial obligations in the lease contract so you don’t end up with the short end of the stick. How do you work out a situation where a tenant wants to get out of their lease smoothly?

Inform tenants that a lease is legally binding before they sign it.

Do you sit down and clarify what the renter is signing? Explain the legal aspects of a lease and the course of action for breaking one, such as finding a subletter, giving up the security deposit, or paying rent for the remaining months.

Require a written request.

Have your tenant write you a notice stating why they would like to terminate the lease early. Reasons like loud neighbors, inconvenient parking, or a move to a friend’s apartment doesn’t require you to release a tenant from the lease, but issues such as neglected apartment repairs or a tenant leaving for military duty will be a valid reason for you to comply with the tenant’s request.

Just because a tenant moves out doesn’t mean they’re not responsible for the unit.

The lease is a legally enforceable document stating that the landlord has given up possession to the unit for a specified amount of time in return for rent. Even if the leaseholder finds you a new tenant or subletter, they retain the responsibilities for damages and payments until the end of the lease.

Know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.

A tenant breaking a lease prematurely might put you in a tight spot, but you can always seek legal advice. Professionals will know the ins and outs of the landlord laws in your state to help you figure out how to best deal with the situation.