How To Get Out Of A Lease - The Right Way

Did you know that you have the renter's right to break a lease? No matter what the reason is, you are not obligated to live anywhere you no longer want to. It’s not always cheap to get out of a lease, but it is always possible. Read more below to learn how to get out of a lease the right way!


Understanding Penalties

Penalties are put in place to protect the landlord. It's important that you understand what fees you will be charged if you break a lease, as your lease is a contract that you must oblige to. That being said, there are certains situations that can free you from those penalties:

  • condition of rental property
  • landlord violates entry rules or harasses tenant
  • apartment is illegal
  • prove that a situation was out of your control


Check Your Local Landlord-Tentant Laws

Landlord-tenant laws that give you the opportunity to break a lease vary from state to state. In a majority of the states, you can get out of your lease without having a penalty for a few reasons:

  • domestic violence
  • dangerous environment
  • if you have been called up for military service.


Check Your Lease

See if there is a section on the lease explaining how to get out of it, allowing you to move out early if you pay a fee. An apartment lease is not reported on your credit and any payment activity does not go to credit bureaus. But if you break your lease, that can show on your credit history.


Talk With Your Landlord

Landlords are people too. Many of them are understanding of circumstantial issues. If there is a reason you can’t pay your rent on time, talk to your landlord. Explain to them what is going on in your situation that is causing turmoil. The more polite and honest you are, the more like they are able to make it easier on you to break the lease.


Early Termination Clause

There can be an early termination clause that you can show to your landlord if they didn’t follow through with the obligation set out in the lease. If your landlord disagrees that they violated the terms of the lease, you could get into an expensive legal issue. 


Subletting or Finding A New Tenant

It is in your best interest to help your landlord to find a new tenant when you move out. Once someone else can take over the monthly payments, then you’re in the clear. Your landlord may be able to rent out the home quicker. Also, consider subletting. You may not be able to find someone to cover your full rent but finding someone that can pay more than half could save you a lot of money. 


For any reasoning, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to get out of your lease, honesty and communication is key. Never just leave your apartment or home without discussing it with your landlord first. The legal fees and your landlord suing you will be far more embarrassing and stressful than going to talk to your landlord about your situation. Handle your renting situation with honesty and communicate with your landlord what the best game plan would be when planning to break your lease. This will make things easier on everyone involved. Good luck!