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Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 @ 5:14 PM
If you happen to be dealing with an uncooperative landlord, it’s normal to want to just break the lease to your apartment or home and leave the situation behind.
But you may be rightfully concerned about the legal and financial ramifications of breaking the lease. Is it possible to do it without being penalized?
In this article, we’re going talk about some ways you can break the lease to your apartment or home without it hitting you in the wallet.
Before we go too deep, you might not know that if any of the below conditions or statuses apply to you, you might be able to freely break an apartment or home lease:
Of course, there are other reasons you may need to break the lease on your apartment or home. You may need to relocate for a job or an urgent family situation.
Regardless of the reason, breaking a lease takes careful planning so that you don’t incur any unnecessary fees or charges.
Nonetheless, there are some negative consequences that could come with breaking a lease. They include:
To avoid extreme actions by the landlord, here’s what you want to do to break out of your apartment or home lease:
It is usually best that you communicate you desire to move out in a timely manner. Your landlord may be willing to work with you, given enough time.
What you want to do is encourage open dialog on both sides: Rather than delivering it as a threat, this information is best conveyed in a calm, practical manner.
The benefits for the tenant include a possible waiving or reducing of fees, the return of your full security deposit and a less stressed moving process overall.
The more time your landlord has to fill the apartment, the better the conversation is likely to go.
Every state has laws governing rental properties based on a Landlord Tenant Handbook, which is specific to the locality (here is Georgia’s).
It would be pointless to delve into general tenant laws without knowing what the rules are for your particular state.
Google your particular state’s Landlord Tenant Handbook to know the specific statutes where you live and what options you might have if you need to move out due to a bad living situation.
In many cases, when you read your rental agreement, you will see language spelling out what happens if you don’t pay the rent. In some cases, it may indicate that you are obligated to find a replacement renter.
One benefit of reading the rental agreement with a fine tooth comb is that you may be able to find a breach of contract that allows you to break the lease freely and without consequence.
“Some states permit you to withhold rent when certain conditions aren’t met. Some allow you to break the lease.”
“What you can do depends on your rights under the Landlord Tenant Handbook,” Lori says.
You may be allowed to “sublet” your apartment or home.
Subletting is a temporary arrangement in which the landlord agrees to let the tenant lease the unit to a subtenant. When you sublet a dwelling, you as the tenant are still liable for the apartment or home.
Here’s the thing: No matter who you find to sublet your apartment or home, the landlord doesn’t have to go along with it. The landlord has other considerations when it comes to renting to a potential tenant. That includes a person’s:
If things seem to be getting too complicated, or if the landlord is determined to make legal threats, you can seek legal advice.
In addition to looking up your state’s tenants union, here are some tenant resources that can help you:
Many times, tenants want to break their lease because of pests or the failure of a landlord to fix a problem like a broken toilet or leaky roof.
In most states, landlords have an obligation to provide a safe and livable home at all times. If that standard is not being met, the tenant has a recourse to break the lease without penalty.
Here’s the thing: It’s going to take time, possibly months. It’s up to the tenant to take meticulous notes and document the problem so that their argument can stand up to basic legal scrutiny.
That said, when dealing with a landlord here are three steps to always take: