Most people who live in urban areas prefer leasing apartments as it is relatively a cheaper option than buying a home. On the other hand, others have homes far away from their places of work and thus have to lease an apartment so that they can live closer to their workplace. Either way, this greatly reduces the costs of travelling to work and so forth.
Although leasing an apartment is a good idea, there are instances when you might want to terminate the lease. A good example is when you leave for active duties, such as military duties, or when you have been transferred from your current workstation. Also, you might terminate the lease when the landlord has failed to comply with all lease clauses as stipulated in the lease agreement document.
Finally, you might terminate the lease when the landlord has failed to make the necessary repairs, thereby making the apartment inhabitable. As you plan to get out of an apartment lease, there are some steps that you should follow. In this article, we shall outline some of these steps to avoid costly lawsuits in the future.
Getting out of an Apartment Lease
Did you lease an apartment but time is ripe for you to get out? Like we have mentioned above, you cannot just break the lease unprocedurally. Doing so can make you get penalized and can be very expensive in the future.
In fact, some landlords usually impose a fee that is double the current market rent. By following the following steps, you will be able to avert all these problems.
1. Check Your Apartment Lease Agreement
Before you think of notifying your landlord that you want to terminate your apartment lease, there is a need for you to read the lease agreement again. Remember that a lease agreement is a binding legal contract between the tenant and the landlord. It can also be a legal contract between a lessee and a lessor. There are several details that are filled in this document. Some of the details that you will find here include:
- The length of the lease
- Lease payments
- When payments are due
All the details mentioned above basically describe the terms of the lease. When leasing an apartment, you have to include your signature to indicate that you will abide by those terms. The landlord on his part also does the same. As you purpose to get out of an apartment lease, you should be keen to check the section that outlines any penalties one might get once he or she gets out of his or her lease.
In most cases, if you have to terminate your lease, you have to notify the landlord early in advance or better still, find a replacement renter. There is also an option where you may terminate the lease before the due date. However, if you choose to do this, you should be ready to pay the termination fee. Besides this, you may have to forfeit your security deposit. If you do not understand the terms stipulated in the lease agreement, you can seek the services of an attorney.
2. Communicate with your landlord
Once you have read the lease agreement and you are certain that you want to terminate it, the next step is to talk to your landlord. Here, you should tell him or her that you want to get out of your apartment lease. Although the reason for terminating the lease might not be legal, be sure that your landlord will be willing to work with you.
If you can notify him in advance, you can be sure that there will be minimal or no inconveniences at all. Besides notifying the landlord early enough, you should try to be honest with him. By being honest, he might not have issues with allowing you to terminate the lease earlier than usual. In fact, if you’ve had a good relationship with your landlord, the process of breaking the apartment lease will be seamless.
3. Seek legal advice
Since most people are not very conversant with tenancy laws, it is important that you seek legal advice. By doing this, you will be able to find any loopholes that might be present in your lease agreement. Your lawyer will help you know if you can readily break the lease legally and avoid any future consequences.
This professional will be guided by the laws in your state or region. Since these laws can vary from one region to another, this expert will interpret them for you and let you know if the law favors your situation or not.
It is good to be cautious at this stage as you might pay high charges in case you are aligned in court by your landlord. Besides helping you understand the laws that govern your region or state, the lawyer will help see if your lease agreement is legally valid or not.
4. Find a replacement
Since you have opted to terminate your lease earlier than usual, it is in the best interest that you help your landlord or lessor find another tenant. If you are able to find a replacement, you will be off the hook for the remaining rent that is due in your lease.
The period of finding a replacement might vary due to a number of factors. For instance, if you reside in a rural area, getting a replacement might take time. However, if you live in an urban area, chances of getting a replacement are very high.
If the replacement is not easy to get, the landlord can involve you. Chances are that you might know someone who might be willing to be a tenant in that apartment. The good news is that social media platforms can help you get a replacement as soon as possible.
From Facebook to WhatsApp, there are many platforms that can help you achieve this objective. Besides social media, you can ask your family members and friends for recommendations. All these methods can help you find a replacement promptly.
5. Check state laws
By checking your state laws, you will be able to know if you are violating any one of them now that you want to break your apartment lease. Remember that these laws are not homogenous. They vary from one state to another. By being conversant with these always, you will avoid costly penalties in the future.
6. Communicate with your local tenant union
It is imperative to note that tenant union are normally region-based and usually help to fight for the right of various tenants in a particular region. Here, their collective interests are normally considered, and everything is always done in their best interest.
If you reside in an area with a tenants union, you should go ahead and communicate with that union and check your rights as a tenant. In case you need any help in getting out of an apartment lease, your local tenant union will offer the much-needed help to you.
The local tenant union can also help you if your landlord is not responding to any of your requests. Also, if the landlord is overcharging you to break the lease, the tenant union can intervene on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How can you break a lease without penalty?
First, you should read the rental agreement and see what it says about breaking a lease. After that, you can talk to your landlord and then find a new renter. If you are able to find a new tenant early enough, you might not incur any extra charges. However, if you fail to find a new tenant in good time, you might be forced to pay extra charges.
You can also communicate with your local tenant union and let them intervene. Finally, you can seek legal advice in case the landlord is taking advantage of you. This way, you will not be penalized for breaking the lease.
Can apartment lease be terminated early?
Yes. You can now terminate an apartment lease early and relocate to another region. However, you might end up paying some extra fees if you do not find a replacement early enough. Here, your landlord might ask you to pay the rent for the remaining period of time until a new person rents the apartment.
Besides this, you might also lose your deposit if you do not get a replacement in good time. Therefore, you should be ready for such eventualities in case you opt to terminate the lease prematurely.
Does breaking a lease hurt your credit?
It depends. For instance, if you are able to pay all the charges before relocating to a new apartment or home, your credit score will not be hurt. However, if you break the lease and fail to pay all the necessary dues owed to the landlord, your credit score might be hurt.
To be on the safe side, you should ensure that you pay all the charges in case you do not get a replacement early enough. By doing this, your credit will not be hurt.
Is an apartment lease legally binding?
Yes. Just like any other rental agreement, an apartment lease is legally binding. Therefore, you have to be careful as you terminate the lease prematurely as you might get penalized if you do not follow the right procedure.
You don’t have to fear moving out of a leased apartment to another or to your newly built home anymore. This is because you can now do so without complications. For instance, desperate measures are forcing u out! Measures like; you have been transferred from your workplace, and you need to look for another apartment closer to the new workstation or your current apartment violates the habitability standards.
If so, follow the procedure mentioned above and get out of an apartment lease without being penalized. In fact, the process might be easier and faster than expected.