How to break your lease without breaking the law: Working it out with your landlord

Though you may seem trapped, there are a few options to pursue when looking to break your lease. Whether you’re moving in with a significant other, getting a new job, or just want to be closer to your local pizza place, there might be a way to break your lease and stay in your landlord’s good graces. In our last post in this three-part series, we talked about breaking your lease using the warranty of habitability. If your place doesn’t seem to be affecting your health, life or safety (darn), another option to legally breaking your lease is to work with your landlord – they’re people too!

Option #2 – Working it out with your landlord

Don’t forget that your next landlord may contact this one before letting you sign a lease, so burning bridges should be your very last option. Try having an honest conversation about why you need to move (got a new job, lost a job, moving in with a significant other, etc.). If you live in an area with a large demand for rentals, your landlord may be more willing to let you off the hook. Especially if you help him or her out by finding a replacement tenant.

Let your landlord know that you need to vacate your lease early, but that you don’t want to break your lease or leave them without a tenant. Ask him or her to advertise the listing (on RadPad, of course), or ask if you can search for a lease assignee. That’s someone who will take over your lease permanently, which is different than subletting, as that implies you’re going to return at some point.

The terms and conditions of your lease apply to both you and your assignee (aka the new tenant). Make sure that you, your landlord and the new renter sign a document that acknowledges your release from your rent-paying duties, and that the new tenant is taking over the obligations of the lease.

If your landlord is reluctant to sign your lease over to a new tenant, remind them that (in most states), they are legally required to re-rent your abandoned residence as soon as possible. This means if you walk out on a lease with seven months left, your landlord can’t just let it sit there for seven months without making an effort to re-rent it.

Since it will cost your landlord time and money to find  a tenant after you leave, there’s a good chance they’ll let you out of your lease if you’ve done that work for them.

Ready to work out a leave early agreement with your landlord? Ask them to list your pad on RadPad (it’s super easy). Then start shopping around for your new digs!