How to Legally Break an Apartment Lease

This document will detail how to legally break an apt lease.

Looking to get out of your apartment lease early? There is always a way to get out early, you just have to know the rules and the loopholes. Whether you may have a job offer in another city, or another circumstance arises, getting out of your lease may be necessary. But before we dig deeper, you can't simply exit your lease early because you want to. You may have to meet a specific set of criteria which frankly isn't easy. Before you sign your apartment lease, weigh your options. Maybe a shorter lease term is available just in case you need to exit quickly.

What is a Broken Lease

A broken lease occurs when the tenant leaves the apartment unit vacant without fulfilling the terms of the lease. Most renters have signed some type of formal lease document outlining the terms. Whenever you are in doubt, read the lease. It will outline everything you need to know. According to Rentkidz.com, leaving your Houston apartment home in the middle of the night is not recommended. There are consequences. The landlord or property management company can file a complaint with the courts and notify the credit bureaus. Not only may your credit score be impacted, it's highly unlikely you will not be able to rent another apartment in your name. You see when you lease an apartment, most communities will conduct a background check. If they see that you skipped out early, they probably won't lease to you.

Let's not confuse this with paying off your broken lease the "right way". If you read the document, you may see a clause that you will have to pay 1 or 2 months of rent in order to break your lease. When this is conducted in this fashion, your credit score and rental history will not be affected. You are following the terms of the lease and will be in good standing.

Here are a few ways you can get out of your lease without paying a penalty. Landlords should be familiar with these valid scenarios below.

Military Personnel

If your an active member of the military and you are reassigned to a different part of the country, the apartment complex must let you out of your lease. This is the law. You won't have to pay a penalty and you will leave on good terms. It's just as easy as this.

It's not Safe to Stay There

Now in some circumstances, you are able to break your lease within legal limits and won't have to pay a fee. But usually this is not because you just want to get out of your lease. If conditions exist at the property that make inhabiting the unit unsafe, you might be within your legal right to break that lease in Texas. However, you must take certain steps in order to achieve this.

  1. You must give the apartment manager or landlord written notice of the repair that needs to be made.
  2. The repair must significantly affect your health or your safety in some way. For example, you find mold inside you apartment community, and a professional has indicated that it is unsafe to live in the premises.
  3. You have notified the landlord in writing and mailed the letter return receipt requested.
  4. The landlord has had a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs, and has not completed them.

Of course without getting into more details, you can see that you must follow a certain set of criteria in order to break the lease. And one more thing. You cannot be delinquent in your rent!

If you are an apartment manager or owner, you will want to rectify any of the issues as quickly as possible. The law won't lay you specific time limits, but the sooner the better.

You Don't Have any Privacy

Some landlords will just bother or harass their tenants, or take other steps that will allow you to break your lease without penalty. For example if you landlord takes off the front door without replacing it, or even turns off the power or water, you could leave without fear of repercussion. Some tenants get upset when the landlord enters the apartment. Although this does occur, it usually isn't enough to warrant breaking the lease. For example, the landlord might need to make repairs, or potentially show your unit to another renter.

How to Reduce Monies Owed.

In some states the landlord must make every effort to re-rent your apartment unit if you move out early. Whily this won't let you off the hook, it may mitigate your losses. So if you exit your lease and the community is able to rent your unit out quickly, you will only be responsible for the time the unit was vacant.

Other Steps a Renters Can Take

There some last ditch efforts you can take. Write your landlord a letter or meet them in person and describe your current situation. You may find that people out there are kind and won't penalize you severely. The absolute worst action you can take is to move out without any communication. This will certainly result in fines, fees, and items marked negatively on your credit report.

Of course you will want to consult an attorney before you attempt to break your lease.

If you are the apartment manager and you have autonomy of the situation, it might be under your discretion whether you acquiesce to the request of the renter. If you believe they have a valid reason and your place is practically full, you may not have a problem letting them out of the lease.

Wrapping it Up

Remember that breaking your lease without make fulfilling the terms of the lease will have severe consequences. Even if you cannot afford to pay the fee, most management companies and landlords may work with you on a particular payment plan. No doubt a renter will probably want to purchase a home or rent an apartment in the future, and negative marks will make the entire process more complicated and costly.