Whatever your reason, it might be time to move on.
But what if you need to bail out before the lease is up? If you’re on a periodic lease, you can terminate your lease at any time – but it’s another story if you’re part way through a fixed-term lease.
Hold the fort – what’s a ‘fixed-term lease?’ When you sign a fixed-term lease, you’re signing a binding contract which says you will pay the specified rent for a minimum period – that might be 6 or 12 months.
So if you want out of your fixed term lease, here are a few tips to help you:
Know your state laws
The more you know about terminating a fixed-term lease early, the more likely you’ll be able to break your lease with minimal issue. Be aware of state-specific details on re-letting fees, advertising fees and whatever rent is owing before new tenants can be found.
Communication is key
If you want to break your lease, it’s important to let your landlord or property manager know of your intentions as soon as possible. This notice should be done as a written notification and should mention the following:
- The fact that you wish to break the lease
- Acknowledgment that you have a debt to make good for financial loss
- A request for the landlord or property manager to start advertising and start showing the property to prospective tenants ASAP (or from a certain date)
- The date you plan to move out
- The date your landlord or property manager can begin showing the property
- Your new address
If you need to end your agreement early, you should always try to give as much notice as possible so the owner can take all reasonable steps to find a replacement tenant as soon as possible. You must also give your landlord or property manager a forwarding address at the end of any tenancy.
Breaking your rental lease – What happens next?
Once your landlord or property manager received your letter of intention to break lease, they will likely reply advising you to pay ‘lease break cost,’ which include a portion of the re-letting fee and advertising cost.
Now you have the green light (in writing, naturally!) you will want to hand your tenancy over to someone else. The easier you make it to find a new tenant for the property, the less money you’ll have to compensate the owner in lost rent. This means preparing the property in the best way possible. Present clean and tidy backyards and lawns, clear the house of any rubbish and keep the house as immaculate as possible with the power still connected.
Make sure you’re aware of any state-specific laws around reassignment, particularly with regard to updating tenancy agreements and the period for which you’re still liable to pay rent.