Some of us jump through hoops looking for an apartment to rent in New York, only to find out we need to break our lease. Unless you’re moving out early because you’re being deployed by the military, chances are you’ll be faced with paying for the months left on your lease. This means you’re left wondering whether there’s a way to break your lease without paying through the nose. Unfortunately you have few options, but if you play your cards right it can work out. It’s important to remember that your lease is a binding contract the breaking of which may cause you to incur a penalty. Most New Yorkers rent apartments based on a 1-year lease. The 1-year lease is a fixed term, meaning you agree to pay rent for that specified period.
Moving out of your apartment early means you’re still responsible for any remaining months in the fixed term. But if you find yourself absolutely having to move out keep in mind that landlords are required to mitigate damages by making reasonable attempts to rent the apartment you’re moving out of. If you know ahead of time that you’re moving out, get on your landlord’s good side by having a willing renter ready to take over. The trick is to give your landlord as much notice as possible and make the transition as easy as you can. Remember, the key is to make the transition smooth and painless for your landlord! Don’t give them reason to turn down the tenant you’re suggesting take over the lease. If for whatever reason you simply can’t find someone to take over, giving your landlord plenty of notice allows him/her to find a suitable replacement without making you pay for months you’re not there. Another reason early notice is important is that some landlords may prefer to leave the unit empty in order make repairs to the unit. You may even find out breaking your lease doesn’t bother you landlord after all. Still, general rule of thumb here is: (1) give notice early, and (2) try to have a willing renter ready to take over as a substitute tenant.
If it turns out that your landlord wants to rent the unit but is having a hard time renting the apartment or loses any rent during the remainder of your lease term, you may still be responsible for the difference. This means you will have to pay for the months left on your lease. If this is the case but you simply must move out you may want to consider having someone sublet the unit for the remaining months. Just keep in mind that subletting is an option so long as it’s not prohibited by your lease. Take a look at your lease and then get yourself a suitable person to sublet the apartment. In the end, to avoid paying for rent after breaking your lease, do your homework! Study your lease to see what are your options, ask friends and family to see if anyone wants to take over your lease, and post the apartment online to see if someone would be willing to sublet the apartment for the remainder of your lease.
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