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  • How to End an Agreement (Break a Lease) Without Paying Fees

    September 29, 2017 | Blog Housing
  • break a lease

    Breaking a lease of your rent is not a rare issue even if it was not intentional from the very first time you signed your contract. As your life progresses, you might have a change of job in other location, get married or need to move in with someone, or you simply find a better place to live. However, often the act of breaking the lease comes with the consequence to pay the remaining payments that you have agreed to pay in your contract.

    What Happens When You Break a Lease?


    Typically, your rent comes in a fixed term (up to 12-month lease or more). By signing the contract, it means that you agree to pay the fee for the entire term, even if you choose to do it in monthly installments. Your lease will end by itself at the end of the term, but if you break a lease earlier than the contract term, you are faced with the fee that you still need to pay for the remaining term. For most, the money that needs to be spent for paying an unoccupied living place is better to be used for a new lease.

    In few cases, your landlord can easily let you go without paying the penalty if they can find a replacement for you right away or if there is a shortage of rental housing. But for those who are not that lucky, you can try these tips on how to break a lease and either get away from paying the fees or recover some of your deposit that has already been paid.

    How to Break Your Lease Without Paying the Penalty


    Whatever reasons you have to break the lease you have agreed upon, the first and utmost important step you need to take is to give as much notice as possible to your landlord. The reason is that when you depart from his housing rental, he will need to find a new tenant to take over as soon as possible to minimize his financial losses.

    If you find yourself under these few situations, conveying them in your notice might help you to avoid paying the fees:

    • Your housing rental is under heavy damage not because of your action
    • You need to move to an assisted living facility due to your serious health problems
    • You need to relocate to a new location because of a military order


    Unless you have been a perfect tenant or have undergone the above circumstances that require you to break the lease, a notice will not be enough, and you might need to perform the next steps.

    Make an Offer to Help Looking for a Replacement Tenant


    It is important that you know the fact that once there is a new tenant for your housing rental, your landlord can’t collect the rent both from you and your replacement simultaneously. That is why a replacement tenant plays a big role in helping you to avoid paying the fees for breaking the lease.

    However, you can’t just offer anyone without a good credit and rental history just for the sake of finding an immediate replacement. You can show your good intention by taking your landlord’s screening procedure into account and actively looking for a proper replacement.

    When you already perform these two basic steps, you can continue to the last step that will help you avoid paying a huge penalty for breaking the lease.

    Another way to compromise your act of breaking a lease without wasting your money on the penalty is to offer to pay for the cost of advertising and showing the rental unit while your landlord is searching for a new tenant. Not only it will accelerate the process of finding a replacement, but you will also build a good relationship with your landlord that somehow might get you off the hook for paying the fees.

    The second method is when you are thorough enough; sometimes you can find an opt-out clause in your contract that will allow you to leave by paying a smaller fee than the cost of your remaining rent. These two actions will help you to spend nothing on breaking the lease completely, but you will at least be able to save a considerable amount of money.