There are a number of reasons why someone may have to break a lease—and it can pose challenges for both the tenant and the landlord. The best advice is to do your best to plan in advance, before you sign a lease to protect yourself in the event circumstances change.
A lease review can be a big help up front and highlights the items in the lease that the transferee should be aware of, any atypical items to be cautious of, mistakes and an overview of the finer points. In addition, it provides the forum for negotiation on lease break clauses or other highlighted areas. For specific verbiage or legal advice, please consult an attorney.
Some of the main areas of the lease review include:
- Outline of Lease Term, Rent and Deposits – How much and when are monies due?
- Does the lease rollover onto a month-to-month basis if a notice to vacate is not provided?
- How to terminate the lease?
- When is the security deposit refunded?
- Can the Landlord enter without advance warning?
- Maintenance – how to schedule, response time and who is responsible?
- Utilities and Services – who is responsible?
- Is renters insurance required?
- Alterations – can I hang pictures and paint?
- Rules & Regulations
- Have all agreements been included?
But sometimes even the best made plans change. If you find that you do need to break your lease you’ll need to read the rental agreement thoroughly that you signed when you moved in. Read through each section to see how to break the lease and what the penalties are. You should also consider talking to the landlord about your situation. You may be able to help find a new renter, sublet your lease or consider a termination offer, but that will all be dependent on what the landlord agrees to. A broken lease can adversely affect your future ability to rent and your credit. It is a legal binding document that should be taken seriously and remember to seek legal advice if needed.
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