Is it possible to get out of an apartment lease without penalty?

Category: Housing


Breaking an apartment lease can have some serious consequences. Not only can it ruin your credit, but it can be very difficult to get approved for rental housing in the future. Most people don’t necessarily want to break their leases, but something has come up and they need to move before the term is up. If you need to break an apartment lease, the following tips can possibly help you do so, and without penalty:

Early termination clause

Some leases contain flexible early termination clauses that make it much easier to break a lease than others. Because leases can vary so much, it’s important to carefully look through yours to see what is said about early termination. While some leases are very strict and don’t allow much leeway when it comes to leaving early, others may offer tenants the option with sufficient notice (such as 60 days) or if another tenant is willing to move in immediately after your departure (this is more common amongst high-demand communities that are already fully occupied).

Early termination fees

Whether it’s listed in your lease or not, many landlords and apartment communities will allow tenants to terminate a lease early—and without penalty—as long as they pay the required termination fees. Although these fees can be high (often anywhere from one to three months’ worth of rent), they can be worth paying if you recently signed a lease and you know you can’t live there the entire time.


Subletting your apartment can be a great way to stay in your lease, while giving you the option to move somewhere else more affordable. When you sublet an apartment, you’re still technically the leaseholder, but someone else moves into the apartment and pays you rent. You then turn around and give that money to the landlord. However, before you decide to sublet your apartment, carefully look through your lease. Your lease may prohibit subletting, and if you do it anyway, you can be facing an eviction. If you’re not sure whether subletting is allowed, discuss it with your landlord.

There are issues with the apartment

If there are significant issues with your apartment, or you were promised something and that promise was never fulfilled, you may be able to use these negatives to your advantage and get out of your lease early. For example, if your air conditioner has been broken for months and your landlord has kept postponing repairs, you may be within your legal rights to move out before your lease is up, and without penalty. In these situations, it can be a good idea to consult with a landlord tenant lawyer first, just so you know what rights you do have and if you’re able to break your lease early.

Talk to your landlord

If there’s a reason you have to move or can’t pay the rent anymore, talk to your landlord and explain the situation. Whether it’s a family emergency or a job loss, your landlord may understand and may be willing to work with you. The last thing you want to do, however, is up and leave without any notice at all.


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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: leases, renting a home, subletting

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