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How can I break my lease?

Navigation:  Home > Legal Questions >How can I break my lease


Leases are binding contracts, no less than an contract to buy a car or a house. If you break a lease, you are left with the repercussions, which can include paying out the remainder of the lease whether or not you live there. However, there are several options. First of all, ask! Oftentimes, if you have a good reason, landlords will be understanding and allow you to get out of a lease, or at least part of the lease. If your landlord refuses to let you out of the lease, try finding someone else to take it over - a subletter. Of course, your subletter will need to meet the approval of your landlord, and will likely need to pass the same credit and reference checks.


Failing that, the good news is that in most states, the landlord is obligated to search for another tenant should you leave. This is called mitigating the damages. If you leave, the landlord has to take reasonable steps to find a new tenant and credit you toward the remainder of the lease. So, even if you break the lease, if the landlord finds another tenant a month later, you are only obliged to pay the month the rental property was vacated. Likewise, if the landlord finds another tenant immediately, but the tenant can only pay 90 percent of the cost, you are only obligated to pay the other 10 percent.


Finally, a landlord never wants to bother with suing a tenant to reclaim rental income. It's a hassle. In most cases, the landlor will be accommodating. And if you have to break the lease because you are financially unable to pay, the landlord will probably have little success in a lawsuit. Even if he or she wins, if you are judgment proof, the landlord may not see a penny. Landlords know this, and are generally reluctant to bring lawsuits.

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