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The world is changing and so is housing. With working from home becoming the new norm, many are fleeing cities plagued by high rent and seeking greener pastures. Unfortunately, for many this means breaking a lease. Which leaves many wondering how to break a lease. We all know breaking any sort of lease can be quite costly, below we review all the ways to get out of a lease without breaking the bank.
Now, before you go breaking a lease, make sure you review the terms. Specifically the penalties for cutting your lease short. Given the fact that a lease is a binding contract between the tenant and landlord, there can be legal ramifications for breaking a lease. These may include:
The above consequences could affect your credit score and you may have difficulty finding a new apartment. Not to mention the time, energy, and money it would take to deal with a legal battle.
There are specific times when breaking a lease can occur without facing penalties or legal consequences. Landlords must hold up their end of the contract, and if they do not there may be grounds for getting out of a lease.
Regardless of the building, landlords by law must maintain the property. Some of the most common things landlords have to provide is, trash bins for garbage, access to running water, performing repairs as needed, and following all health and safety codes.
A landlord must provide 24 hour notice prior to entering your rental unit. The reasons a landlord may need to enter includes, inspections, making repairs, or show the unit to prospective tenants. You may have the right to break the lease if your landlord enters your rental unit for reasons that are not not legal, or attempts to enter the unit without approval. As well as harassment. However you would need to obtain a court order to get the landlord to stop, if he/she fails to comply you can terminate the lease.
The Service Members Civil Relief Act offers specific protections for active military. Specifically if you were to receive change of station orders. You would just need to provide the landlord with a written notice of termination, usually at least 30 days prior, and proof of relocation orders.
Several states also include protections for victims of domestic violence. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you may be able to break the lease without any penalty. Typically, the violence experienced must be experienced within the last 3-6 months. You must given written notice to the landlord and may need to provide proof of incidents such as a police report or protection order.
There are times when the rental unit is not a legal unit. Illegal units can include in-law units or spaces such as garages or sheds. Often times you can not only terminate the lease but you are also entitled to a portion of the rent you have paid.
If none of the above apply to you, you may be facing a huge financial burden if you break your lease. However given the fact that we are in a global pandemic, and unemployment rates are soaring, you may be forced to break your lease. How do you get out of a lease without forking over a significant amount of money?
First, notify your landlord as early as possible, ideally 60 days. If you have a good relationship with your landlord there may be more leniency. Additionally you can offer to find a new renter yourself, which may result in not paying a dime. That being said, you’ll need to get your landlords agreement and make sure the new tenant fulfills the application requirement.
If you are struggling to pay your rent due to Covid-19 related job loss, many states are offering protections. Including no evictions, no raise in rents, and a 6 month grace period for missed payments. However each state is different and some protections will not be renewed. In the end it’s best to work with your landlord to find the best solution.