What to Do if You Need to Break a Lease

What to Do if You Need to Break a LeaseThere’s  a number of valid reasons for renters to decide to break lease on their apartment, but no matter the reason, it’s always a difficult situation for both the landlord and the tenant. Breaking a rental contract could have serious consequences (financial and personal) if done incorrectly. Don’t let this situation get even more difficult for you. Instead, learn about what needs to be done before it comes down to it.

Review Your Rental Agreement

Thoroughly read the rental agreement you signed upon moving in. Check for information about how to break a lease or what the penalties are. Look for words like “early release,” “sublet” and “re-let”.

The agreement may indicate that you give notice of your intention to vacate the apartment one or two months in advance or that you have to find a replacement renter. Many leases will also have an option for terminating the agreement immediately, but they often come with hefty fees and you may lose your security deposit.

Handle the situation with open communication and transparency. Reach out to your landlord and building manager ahead of time. If you are considerate with them, they are more likely to be sympathetic towards your situation.

Find a New Renter

If you are required to find a new renter to replace you if you move out early, the two scenarios are subletting and re-renting.

  • Subletting: You or your landlord find someone willing to take over your current lease. While they’ll likely sign their own sublease agreement, the lease will still be under your name, making you legally responsible for damages or forget to pay rent. You won’t get your security deposit back until the end of the original lease term. Keep in mind that not all rental properties allow subletters, so make sure to read the terms of your lease very carefully before finding someone to take over your lease.
  • Re-renting: Finding a new tenant for the unit who signs a brand new lease agreement and pay their own security deposit. For the landlord, this often means re-listing your unit and showing the property to interested renters.

What to Expect

If you can’t find a new renter or must leave the apartment immediately, you may need to consider a termination offer. Breaking lease agreements often requires paying two or three months’ rent and forfeiting your security deposit altogether.

Check in with your landlord if there’s a chance they’ll reduce the fees involved or return your security deposit, even if the lease says they won’t.

Be prepared to fork up at least some money. If you don’t pay to terminate your lease immediately, depending on specific location, you’re responsible for paying your rent up until the time you or property management finds a subletter or re-renter.

Track Communication

From the very first conversation you have with your landlord about potentially breaking your lease, get everything in writing to legally protect yourself for any reason the situation becomes litigious.

Make sure your conversations are over email. If you do have phone or in person conversations, always take notes and afterwards, shoot your landlord an email of what was discussed, and get their written confirmation that what you sent is correct.To protect yourself, obtain Connecticut renters insurance.

Seek legal advice if you feel you’re in a situation where your landlord is taking advantage of you, you can prove your apartment is unlivable or you’re being overcharged.

Renting your residence can be a convenient and cost-efficient way to live, but it comes with many additional exposures that need to be covered by your own policy, not just your landlord or property manager’s policy. Arm yourself with Connecticut Renters Insurance so you won’t have to worry about these liabilities.


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