What to do if you need to get out of an apartment lease

Category: Housing

3d render of moving boxes in empty room

 

Are you currently locked in a housing lease, but need to get out of it? Whether you’re relocating for work, or you need an apartment with lower rent, you might have a pretty good reason for wanting to move out before your lease is up. However, a rental lease is a contract and by breaking it, there could be serious penalties. The last thing you want to do is just up and leave without warning, as this could have serious negative effects on your credit score and can make it extremely difficult to find a new apartment Although you might just need to stick it out until your lease is up, you could try some of the following things if you need to get out of your lease before it’s up:

Explain your situation to your landlord

The first thing you’ll want to do is explain your situation to your landlord. As soon as you know you want to get out of your lease, contact your landlord immediately and explain why. Perhaps you lost your job and need an apartment that’s more affordable, or your employer is transferring you to a branch in another state. Whatever the case may be, you might have options, but you won’t know until you bring it up to your landlord. There might be a small fee that’s worth paying that could get you out of your lease, or maybe there’s a long waitlist for your place or the community you live in, and your landlord could easily get a new tenant. You won’t know what you can work out with your landlord if you don’t bring up the fact that you need to move sooner than expected.

Sublease

Another option you might have is to sublease your apartment, which is when you rent out your place to someone else and collect rent from that person. However, be sure to find out about subleasing regulations for your place before you do this. Not all leases allow for subleases, and doing so could possibly get you (and your tenant) evicted. Check your lease for anything regarding subleasing, and if it’s unclear, ask your landlord.

Offer to find a new tenant

If you’re not allowed to sublease, ask your landlord if you can try to find a tenant on their behalf. A landlord may be very reluctant when it comes to letting their tenant break their lease early, but if they’re able to find someone who can move in right after you move out, you might be able to do so without penalty.

Transfer your lease to a sister community

Are you renting an apartment that’s part of a major network of communities with various buildings throughout the state—perhaps throughout the country? Even if you’re not sure, ask. Whatever your needs might be for a different apartment, the community you rent from now might have a sister community elsewhere that matches what you’re looking for—whether it be location, apartment size, pricing, etc. When you’re moving from one community to another owned by the same company, you can usually do so without breaking your lease because you’re technically still renting from the same people. However, this might require that you transfer your lease and renew it, which could mean adding another year to your rental term. If you know you’ll stay put for at least a year though, this could be something worth considering, if the option is available.

Explore other alternatives

Figure out why it is you want to break your lease, and ask yourself if there are other alternatives available. In some situations, moving out or breaking your lease might really be your only option. But there could be other options you haven’t thought of or considered. For example, maybe you need a bigger place because your family is growing, or a smaller place that will save you money each month. If the building you’re living in has a place that matches your current needs, you might be able to switch apartments without breaking your lease. If you’re ready to become a homeowner and that’s the reason why you want to break your lease, talk to your landlord about potentially buying his or her place (more so if you rent from a private landlord, rather than an apartment community). Whatever your reason might be, there could potentially be a better alternative available, but it usually circles back to discussing your situation with your landlord and exploring your options.



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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.

Tags: apartments, renting a home, subletting

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