10 Tips on How to Get Out of a Lease Agreement

Real Estate

Most people who are looking into breaking their lease agreement are usually caught in a bind. If you are desperate about getting out of a lease agreement, there are a few things you could do in order to minimize or eliminate any penalties or consequences that typically go along with breaking a legally binding contract, and leases are exactly that. Breaking your contract with your landlord can get expensive pretty quickly, but there are a few options that might offer you a solution. Here are 10 tips that might help you get out of your lease agreement early without any or with minimal penalties.

1. Communicate with your landlord

If you happen to have a good relationship with your landlord and if you’ve been responsible with your lease payments until now, there’s a good chance that you might be able to talk to your landlord about your lease. If you have to break your agreement because you can’t afford rent anymore, chances are your landlord might be willing to give you payment options, especially if this is your first offense. Otherwise, your landlord might even be willing to break your lease with no penalties. It never hurts to ask, and communication is always key.

2. Payment plan

If you have to break your lease agreement, try to convince your landlord to allow you to pay off your remaining balance through a payment plan without having to go through the court. This will at least keep any negative records off of your credit report, which is something that can stay on for several years.

3. Subletting

Most rental companies and landlords are against subletting, and many rental agreements include clauses on this particular issue. However, if there are no subletting clause in your agreement or if your landlord says it’s okay, you can certainly find a short-term renter that can take over your lease temporarily to relieve you of monthly payments.

4. Breach of contract

Remember that your landlord has to live up to his end of the bargain with your lease agreement. There are times when landlords just don’t keep up with their part of the deal. If you find that there might be reason enough to break your lease because your landlord is not maintaining your rental properly, you can break your lease without penalty. You’ll have to prove that you brought this to your landlord’s attention to no avail before you can break your lease because of breach of contract.

5. Early termination clause

Most landlords will include an early termination clause that will allow renters to get out of the lease agreement without penalty due to unforeseen and life-changing circumstances such as a job loss, divorce, job transfers, or even medical issues. Check for this clause in your contract before you do anything else.

6. Offer up security deposit

To get on the good graces of your landlord, offer to give up your security deposit in order to cover your losses. Most rental properties ask for an entire month’s rent as a security deposit anyway. This will at least cover one month’s worth of payments and hopefully shed some positive light on your dilemma.

7. Find a replacement

Sometimes the battle of having to break your lease could be solved if you can offer up a replacement tenant for your landlord right away. Landlords don’t want to lose out on money with an early lease termination, so if you’re able to supply your landlord with a new tenant that could move In as soon as you’re gone, you might be able to get away with breaking your lease.

8. Check with your local tenant union

If you happen to live in a big city that has a tenants’ union, you might be in luck. Tenant unions often are available to help tenants handle disputes with landlords. Tenant unions are also usually better versed on state laws and regulations when it comes to breaking lease agreements, and they’ll help you deal with your landlord directly as well.

9. Seek legal advice

If you believe that you are getting overcharged for your rent or that if you’re in an unlivable situation, you might benefit from seeking legal advice. Going to small claims courts could save you thousands rather than dealing with your landlord directly.

10. Check state laws

Every state has laws that provide exceptions for tenants that will allow them to break lease agreements without consequences. These exceptions include illegal or unlivable apartments, a military order, or an injury or illness among others. Check your state laws to see if an exception applies to your situation.

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