One of the biggest events in a person’s life is moving to a new home. This makes sense considering the great deal of organizing, planning, packing and time that it requires. But what happens if, after all that moving, you come to realize that your new place isn’t going to work out? Considering you signed a lease, you probably feel that you are trapped. In some circumstances, this may be true. Here’s why:
A lease states a number of things – the price of your monthly rent, any rules or regulations regarding the property, etc. While it may seem like a flimsy piece of paper, a lease is actually a binding legal agreement. And once you signed it, it became a binding legal agreement between you and your landlord. If you break a lease, there could be some negative results. One thing that can happen is that even if you decide to move before your lease has ended, your landlord may still demand full payment for the remainder of your lease. Even worse, your landlord can take you to court for breaking your lease. If your landlord wins, you will wind up owing more than just the remainder of the rent; you will also owe lawyer fees and interest. Breaking a rental agreement can also damage your credit score, which can make moving more difficult in the future.
So is there any way you can break a lease? If you really need to move, check out the following tips on how to get out of a lease early:
Check for Breach of Contract. As part of your lease agreement, landlords agree to maintain the property and to provide an environment that is safe and healthy for their tenants. Unfortunately, some landlords do not keep up with their end of the bargain. Some may ignore requests to replace nonworking appliances or refuse to fix faulty plumbing and broken heating/cooling systems. There may also be more serious problems like mold or an insect infestation. Problems like these are definitely not what you signed up for! If your landlord fails to keep your rental property in good condition, this means they are in violation of a breach of contract, and you may legally be allowed to break your lease without penalty.
Converse. If you’re lucky, you may just have a landlord that is willing to bend some rules for their tenants. The only way to find out is to talk to them. As soon as you realize you need to break your lease, speak with your landlord about it and explain the situation in detail. They may wind up being a jerk and refuse to bend in any way, but hopefully, your landlord will be understanding and work out some sort of agreement with you about the matter at hand.
Forfeit the Security Deposit. Many renters look forward to getting some – if not all – of their security deposit back when moving out of a rental property. But if you are looking to end your lease early, you may want to forfeit your security deposit. Speak to your landlord about using your security deposit to maintain the property until they find a new tenant. You can also offer to clean and paint the apartment yourself in order to save them money and time. By doing these things, you may forego any major penalties for moving out early.
Sublet. Subletting is not always an option, but if it is, it could save you from being penalized for opting out of your lease early. To sublet, find someone in need of short-term housing accommodations and have this person move in and take over your lease. Your name will remain on the lease, but instead of you paying the rent for a place you no longer live in, the sub-tenant will pay you, and you, in turn, will pay the landlord.
Examine the Termination Clause. If you are considering breaking your lease, read over your contract for a termination clause. Many landlords add an early termination clause to their lease in order to make renting more fair to the tenant, and also to lower the risk of vanishing tenants. This clause may allow you to terminate your lease as long as you give a notice of 30 days or more.
Another thing you may learn when reading over the termination clause is that any fee you may be forced to pay for breaking your lease is much lower than first expected, which could help quickly simplify the issue.
For more tips on moving, find them here.