As a tenant, you want to find the best rental option for your living needs. You scour newspaper ads and online to find the right rental, a home that fits your budget needs, is close to work and is in a nice neighborhood. Once you find the right place, you undergo tenant screening and hopefully are approved. Now that you have a new home, you are able to get on with life, enjoying your new place. However, over time, things change. Perhaps you get a new job and need to relocate. Or, you end up needing to move in with a relative to provide care. Whatever the case may be, you need to break your lease. So, how do you go about doing so? What is the proper protocol to maintain good standing with your landlord and not harm your reputation in the future?
What You Need to Know
For most landlords, they know that a lease will be broken from time to time. Because of this, there will be stipulations. When signing a lease for a rental, be sure to review all terms, especially the portion regarding breaking the lease. You want to know what you will be forfeiting and what will need to be paid in order to move on.
For most landlords, breaking of the lease will require any deposit to be forfeited. So, if you paid $500 as a deposit for your rental, then you will not get that money back. Landlords may also require that you pay one month rent or more when moving out, to help with the loss of income. Every landlord’s lease specifications will be different, so be sure you read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.
Stay on Good Terms
While living in a rental home or apartment, be sure to stay on good terms with your landlord. Have a pleasant relationship, paying your rent on time and being a good neighbor. When you are on good terms with your landlord, it can be helpful if you find the need to break your lease. If something comes up and you must move, such as health issues or the loss of a job, your landlord may decide to be extra supportive and not charge you a month’s rent or give you back some of your deposit. By having a good relationship, it can make breaking the lease a smoother process.
In general, it is recommended that you handle the breaking of a lease with care. Do not simply move out and avoid speaking to your landlord. Let them know your situation and discuss why you are moving. This way, you may receive help and can still use this former residence as a reference when moving to another rental.
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