One of the biggest concerns with signing a home rental agreement is what happens if you have to break the contract.
It happens all the time – you have to move because you’ve just landed a new job in another state, you might be getting married or divorced and leaving the area or you’ve saved up enough money for a down payment and you want to buy your own home.
So, what could happen if you have to break your lease? You could have to pay a penalty if you decide to move out before the term of your contract ends. However, that’s not always the case. Below, we break down your chances of having to pay a penalty.
Best Chance of Having to Pay a Penalty – Even though you’ve told your landlord you’ve landed a fantastic new job across the country, you are legally obligated for the term of your lease. However, all hope is not lost. Most states require landlords to “mitigate damages” by making reasonable attempts to rent your place after you give notice.
If you are trying to break your lease, give as much notice to your landlord as possible and also offer to try to find someone else to move into your place. Unfortunately, if your landlord has trouble finding a new tenant immediately, you could be responsible for paying until they do.
Maybe you’ll have to pay, maybe not – You could break your lease without having to pay any penalty if your landlord doesn’t make necessary repairs to your rental or if he or she invades your privacy or doesn’t take seriously complaints you’ve made because of loud neighbors.
Make sure you keep good records, take photos, keep emails, etc. though, because your landlord may not see things the same way you do and go after you in court.
You could be completely in the clear… – There are circumstances where you could break your lease with absolutely no worry about paying a penalty. For instance, if your rental is damaged so much that you can’t live in it, you’ve had a serious health issue, or you’ve been called to active military duty, there should be little to no question concerning breaking your lease.
Regardless of your reasoning for needing to break your lease, remember being upfront, courteous and helpful may go a long way in making peace with your landlord and being able to avoid any kind of penalty.