Most renters tend to make plans for the next 6 to 12 months. However, sometimes life throws you something unexpected that changes your whole life plan, including breaking your lease.
You may have been offered a better job in a new state, or you and your partner may be expecting a new baby and need some more room.Whatever the situation, the thought of breaking your lease can keep you up at night.
Before you forfeit your deposit of the remaining rent owed on your lease, it is advisable that you know your options and then discuss them with your landlord or property manager.
Talk about your situation
If your life situation has altered or you have a problem with the property, talk things through and don’t assume you have to deal with it alone.
Start by talking to the landlord or property manager. We may live in a world of emails and digital communication, but a face to face discussion can be more beneficial than an email exchange. Be concise and clear when you inform them about your circumstances and why you are unhappy or are in need of a change.
Before knocking on your landlord’s door or making an appointment with your property manager, carefully think your situation through and decide whether you really need to be breaking your lease.
Some problems can be worked out with the manager. If your roommate is leaving and you will struggle to afford the rent by yourself, the property has some issues or the noisy neighbors are contributing to a miserable living situation, your manager should be able to work with you to help fix the issue.
Property managers and landlords are used to having to deal with these types of problems and will most likely have some sort of operational framework in place to help resolve them, whether it be unpleasant noisy neighbors or issues with the property itself.
Let them know what is making you unhappy and you may be surprised at how quickly the issue can be resolved, without breaking your lease.
Consider your options
After you have spoken to your landlord or property manager and discussed your situation, you may both decide that it breaking your lease is necessary. However, you can then work through your available options.
Depending on the scale of the company that is managing the property you are leasing and the terms of your lease agreement, you might have several options available to you.
If you require more room or need to downsize, you may be able to move into another property in your building. This can be an easy and attractive option if you are expecting a baby and will need more room in your home, or if your roommate has left the apartment and you require less space and more affordable accommodations.
You can also check to see if your landlord or property management team has another property available at a different location. If you need to relocate for your job, it could be that your property management company owns several buildings in other states and there is an option that you can transfer.
However, depending on state tenant laws, your lease terms or tenancy agreement, some of these changes to your lease may involve fees.
Negotiate your lease before you sign on the dotted line
Although you may have some options, the best way to avoid breaking your lease is to make sure you negotiate before you agree to the rental terms.
If you are considering buying a house in the near future, it would be worth trying to include a mortgage clause. The length of time to complete the purchase of a property can be unpredictable, especially with a short-sale home. It is a good idea to have a flexible lease that won’t hit you with heavy fines.
If your job requires you to relocate, you can negotiate a clause in the lease that covers relocation.
You can’t always predict every change and turn life will bring, but for the ones that you can, try to include a clause in the lease that gives you a loophole.
Try to think ahead
Negotiate your rental agreement before moving into the property to have the best chance of avoiding breaking your lease.