When Are You Legally Allowed To Break Your Rental Home Lease?

4 November 2015
 Categories: Real Estate, Blog


A standard, fixed term lease lasts for one year. At the end of the term, the lease ends. Most property companies will try to renew the lease at an inflated rental rate. At this point, the tenant has the choice to sign the new lease, move out, stay on as a month-to-month tenant, or face eviction for failure to vacate. What if you want to leave before your lease term ends?

Many reasons lead a tenant to break his or her rental lease, from a job transfer to deciding the place isn't for you. Legally, you have the ability to break your rental home lease at any time, but the consequences can make you reconsider when or if you decide to follow through.

Look Into Subletting and Re-Renting

Your rental home lease is a contract. Before breaking it, read all of the fine print. Most leases will allow a tenant to sublet or "re-rent" the property in the event that they want to move out.

If you choose to sublet, a move you can make at any time during your lease term, your name will still be on the contract. If the tenant you place in the home doesn't pay the rent, the responsibility falls to you. Should they default, this could put you in a potentially costly situation.

In most states, landlords are obligated to find a new tenant in the event that you must move out. The lease stands, and you are responsible for paying each monthly installment until the landlord finds a new occupant, at which time your lease will be dissolved.

When You're Legally Able to Break Your Lease

If your landlord fails to uphold the terms of the rental agreement, you are legally able to break your lease at any time with no consequences. The key is proving your landlord or the rental company handling your lease failed to uphold the terms.

For example, if property management fails to upkeep the property, you can often end your rental agreement. If you have submitted multiple complaints in writing, management is responsible per the lease for handling these complaints, and management fails to address and resolve the complaints, you again have legal grounds to end your rental agreement.

Unless the fine print of your lease states that you are legally unable to break it for a specific amount of time, you can work to break it at any time. The fine print and rental laws applicable to your state are the deciding factors. For more information, talk to Management Services.