For one reason or another, sometimes tenants are unable to fully adhere to the term limit of their lease agreement. Some factors include, but are not limited to, relocation due to work, financial difficulties, inhabitability of the premises and/or deciding to move in with your significant other.
Once a lease agreement is executed by you and your landlord, inclusive of the payment of a deposit and/or months of rent in advance, you are most times responsible for the entire amount owed for the term of the agreement. All states have different laws when it comes to the execution of a lease agreement, what constitutes a “legal” apartment and also how and when your security deposit must be paid back, so be cognizant of your state statutes.
If you should ever find yourself in a predicament where you may have to break your lease, here are four tips to assist:
1) READ YOUR LEASE
Before you sign the lease agreement, please read it. If you do not understand the terms of the lease agreement, ask questions. Who is responsible for extermination services? On what day will rent be considered late? Am I able to sublet the apartment? After I move, when will I get my security deposit back? These are a few questions you should ask if you can’t ascertain the answers from reading the lease on your own. Many people do not have the money and/or resources to hire an attorney to review a residential lease agreement, so don’t feel bad if you have to Google some preliminary information to understand exactly what you are signing. 9 times out of 10 there is language within the lease agreement that defines the notice you are required to give to your landlord prior to moving out of the premises. Also, the lease will explain if there are any penalties or potential legal ramifications should you decide to move prior to the end of your lease.
If you are relocating due to a new work opportunity in another city, inform your new employer of your lease agreement and ask them to cover the costs associated with breaking the lease. This may include payment of the remaining months left on the lease, or it may just require payment of a penalty. Additionally, you should negotiate with your landlord. Ask your landlord (in writing), for permission to seek a tenant to take over the remainder of your lease. This can be an outright new lease without you being on the hook should the new tenant not pay, or it may be via a sublease agreement where you will still be liable should the new tenant not pay or adhere to the terms of the lease.