How to Break a Rental Lease without Penalty

Last week, we discussed the valid reasons for not renewing a rental lease. However, sometimes you just need to move out before the due time because of drastic changes in your life plans or something else.

How can you avoid legal obligations if you need to break the lease before the due time?

Well, a rental lease agreement is a legally binding contract, and breaking it could cause you facing serious consequences such as paying the rent for the remaining months on the lease. Sounds terrifying? Don’t worry! There are still ways to break the rental lease without facing penalties.

Legal Reasons for Breaking a Lease

The Landlord-Tenant Act lists four reasons that allow a renter to break the contract before due time:

Military service. If the tenant receives a call from the government for a military service, s/he can revoke the lease without facing any legal obligations.

The landlord doesn’t do repairs. Every state law requires the owners to keep their rental units safe and livable. Therefore, if they don’t respond to a repair concern such as a broken lock or a dysfunctional heating system within a specific timeframe, you have the right to walk away.

Renter is a victim. If the tenant or any of the household members is a victim of a crime such as domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or something else, s/he can move out to another place. The offender can be the landlord, landlord’s agent, or a third party.

Renter is threatened. If a neighbor or the landlord threatens the renter with a lethal weapon, which results in an arrest, s/he can leave the rental before the due time.

A renter may have other serious reasons related to health, safety, or something else to break a lease. But, except for the above four reasons, the Landlord Tenant Act does not allow tenants to walk away. In that case, the best move would be to negotiate with the landlord to find a middle ground.

Other Ways to Break the Rental Lease

If the Landlord Tenant Act does not cover your problem, you may use the following strategies to break off the lease:

Take Precaution

Before signing the contract, you can try to convince your landlord to agree to a mutual termination of the lease in some particular situations. Outline all the circumstances that justify the termination, have them written in the agreement, and make your landlord sign it.

Find a Replacement Renter

If you have not included any termination clause in the lease, offer your landlord to find a replacement tenant in exchange for freeing you from the legal bindings of breaking the lease.

Since most of the landlords just want a decent renter, the chance is higher that he will agree to your proposal.

If the Landlord has Broken Lease Terms

It’s a serious issue and will allow you to move out before the due time. It can cover many problems including interfering with your privacy and failure to maintain a habitable housing. Prove it to the appropriate authority, and you can walk out without penalty.

If you break your lease without a valid reason, hire a lawyer to negotiate a fair agreement with your landlord.