Oh No, I Want to Break My Rental Lease!

Let’s face it, sometimes a year commitment is hard to make. And sometimes events in your life change so suddenly that the year lease you signed last month simply makes no sense now.  What do you do? While this post is in no way offering legal advice since we are not attorneys, hopefully are able to give you some things to think about.

First, don’t panic.  While the lease is a legal contract - and you need to recognize this - sometimes something can be worked out with your landlord.

As a first step, read your lease.  See what it says about breaking the lease.  Sometimes a lease will stipulate what the penalty would be if you ended the lease early (i.e. a penalty of two months rent for example) or it may state what steps you would have to take if you wanted to sublet your lease to someone else.  If the lease mentions either of these two items, at least you know you have certain definitive options to end the lease early.

Second, reach out to your landlord and explain the situation.  The truth is, you never know. Maybe the landlord was looking for an excuse to end the lease early for some reason anyway.  Very often landlords will suggest that if you or they can find someone else to take over the lease, then they will let you out of your lease contract.  If this is the case, you should post your lease details on our web site at www.leasebreak.com or suggest that your landlord do so.  Our web site was designed for people to post their apartment details when they are breaking their lease (after they receive their landlord’s permission) in the hopes that they will find someone qualified to take over their lease.

If you really do not want to wait around for someone to take over your lease and if the lease does not state anything about exiting your lease early, then you may want to ask your landlord if you could come to a settlement in order to exit your lease early.  Often this may mean you would have to pay the equivalent of two or three months of rent, or more.  Generally, the amount of money would need to be high enough to make sure that the landlord feels comfortable he/she could re-rent the space without incurring any additional costs or lost rent.  If you can come to terms on a “settlement”, then you should probably sign a cancellation clause with the landlord.  You should consult an attorney in this case to make sure you are doing things correctly, since you are working with two legal documents (your lease and the cancellation clause).

Breaking My Lease