Most tenants tend to make plans for the next 6 to 12 months. However, sometimes life throws you something unexpected that changes your whole life plan.
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 or rental contract can keep you up at night.
Before you forfeit your bond 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 quit 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 may 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 having to break your lease.
Consider your options before breaking your lease
After you have spoken to your landlord or property manager and discussed your situation, you may both decide that it is necessary that you quit your lease. 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 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 has contacts in other states and see 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 considering a periodic tenancy rather than a fixed term lease. The length of time to find one, then complete the purchase of a property can be unpredictable.. It is a good idea to have a more flexible lease that won’t hit you with heavy fines.
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.
Remember, renting a house is a legal process that requires you to enter into a binding contract.
Generally, when a tenant terminates a fixed term early, the landlord is entitled to compensation for losses incurred as a result of the early termination.
What the law seeks to do here is to ensure that the landlord doesn’t suffer financial loss as a result of the early termination, but not to allow the landlord to profit from the situation. In other words, the object of the compensation is to put the landlord in the same position as he or she would have been in had the tenant not terminated the lease early.
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