Long-distance moving is challenging enough without a potential legality thrown into the mix, and that’s precisely what you could face if you break a lease agreement. So, if you’re planning a relocation before your lease is up, don’t hire professional movers just yet. Here is some information you will want to know beforehand.
Check Your Lease First
Your lease agreement should include everything you need to know about your legal obligations. Look for an early termination or opt-out clause. This usually allows you to move out early if you pay a predetermined fee or relinquish your security deposit. You should also look for a notice of intention to vacate clause. For example, you might have to give a 30-day notice prior to ending your lease in order to prevent penalty.
There Could be Consequences
Breaking a lease without authorization can land you in a lot of trouble. On the low-end of the spectrum you could face hefty fines—usually equaling one to two months’ rent—or the loss of your security deposit, as mentioned above. In other instances, you could be required to cover the entire balance of your lease term. Sometimes the process can involve a lawsuit, damage to your credit score, and trouble obtaining a lease in the future.
There are Exceptions
Although it’s not advised to break a lease without authorization from your landlord, there are some special circumstances that make room for an exception. You might be able to break your lease without consequence if:
- The landlord fails to maintain the property.
- The tenant is in active duty in the military.
- The tenant is a victim of domestic violence.
Talk to your Landlord
Whatever your reason for breaking your lease, it’s in your best interest to talk with your landlord first. If at all possible, intend to adhere to all early termination clauses set forth in your renter’s agreement. If you aren’t able, then the best thing to do is approach your landlord honestly. Maybe something can be worked out. Perhaps you can offer to find a replacement tenant, for example.
Although your landlord is a business owner and not fond of losing money, your landlord is a person too and you might find compassion for your circumstances. However, if you’re not upfront about the situation, you’re more likely to face serious consequences like those mentioned above.
This goes without saying, but you want to do everything possible to protect yourself from a lawsuit. To that end, make sure that you document all of your interactions with your landlord regarding your intention to break the lease agreement.
The best way is to get everything in writing, and you can accomplish this through email conversations. If you correspond over the phone or in person, make sure that you take detailed notes. When the conversation is over, have your landlord verify that the information you write down is correct. Be transparent. Let your landlord know that you are documenting your conversation.
You Might Need Support
In rare cases, you might need additional support. If you live in a large metro area, you might find help from local tenant unions. These unions know the specific laws in your city and state, and they can answer any questions that you have. If your landlord charges too much, rents your apartment out from under you, or otherwise takes advantage of you, then seek legal advice.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
Sometimes breaking a lease agreement is unavoidable. If you’re moving because you fall into one of the exemption categories mentioned above, if you’re dealing with a personal hardship, or if you are pursuing an opportunity that requires you to act fast, then the risk of staying might outweigh the potential hardship you could face if you broke the lease.
In any case, do your best to make the process go smoothly by understanding your lease agreement, talking with your landlord, and taking as many precautions as you can to protect yourself legally.
Do you need a moving company fast?
If you’re thinking about breaking your lease, then you’re probably planning a relocation too. With so much happening at once, don’t risk your moving safety by attempting a quick DIY move. For full-service moving and storage that’s offered by a qualified team that’s fast and affordable, contact 495 Movers Inc. today!