Get free, no obligation quotes from multiple providers

State Farm Insurance Allstate Insurance Farmers Insurance American Family Insurance Unitrin Insurance Travelers Insurance


A lease is a written contract between the renter and the landlord that outlines the rules and regulations of living there. Leases are set out for a specific amount of time. Most leases are for one year but there are lease agreements that last anywhere from three months to three years.  If you need to break your lease early then you are breaking this contract and can expect a few penalties for doing so.

When you Need to Break your Lease

In some instances you may need to break your lease. Every situation is different and so is every landlord. Some of the most common reasons for breaking a lease include a change in jobs, a change in situation (divorce, marriage) or a serious problem with your health. Your landlord is probably going to be more understanding about you needing to break your lease if you have an excuse that falls under these categories; however, it is not a good idea to lie just to make the broken contract seem more acceptable. Your landlord may eventually find out, especially if you need him as a reference for your next rental property.

There are several other reasons why you may want to break the lease. You may not have enough money to live and pay the rent or you may be unhappy with the neighbors or the neighborhood because it is unkempt and no one wants to buy a lawn mower. The rental unit may not be up to your standards or you may want to move in with a boyfriend or a friend instead. While all of these may seem like good excuses to you, your landlord may not be too happy with what this means for him.

Your landlord may be entirely understanding and compassionate about your problem or your landlord may not believe you or care about the problem and the relationship may turn sour. If you do break your lease you need to accept that this could negatively impact your chances of finding another rental unit down the road. In most situations if your landlord can find someone else to find out the unit and does not lose out on any rent, then everything will be okay. If he is unable to find another tenant then you may need to continue to pay the rent as part of the lease agreement. Every month the unit remains unrented will reflect badly on you, even though it is not technically your fault.

How to Break your Apartment Lease

When you are breaking your lease you need to think about what is happening from your landlord's point of view as well. When you break your lease this means he needs to go through the drama of finding another tenant, of losing out a monthly income, of getting the apartment clean and ready for viewing and of drawing up more contracts for potential tenants. In other words, by breaking the lease, your landlord will suffer as well.

If you do need to break your lease give as much time as possible so that your landlord has a better chance of finding someone else. You can expect to lose your damage deposit and you may be responsible for paying a certain amount of rent as a penalty for breaking the contract. Be flexible with letting real estate agents come in and show the property off to potential tenants. Keep the place as clean as possible and offer to help with the process of finding a new tenant. All of these things will help eliminate the blow of breaking your lease and will keep you out of hot water as much as possible.

Learning Center