Breaking Your Lease Without Breaking the Bank


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There are all sorts of reasons to break a lease — some more legit than others. Regardless of how valid your reason is for breaking your rental apartment lease, chances are your landlord will not be happy. Chances are even slimmer that your landlord will take pity on you and offer to let you off the hook for the remaining months on the lease. Is there a way to break your lease without paying through the nose?  While the chips are stacked against you, you do have a few options. Here are our tips for breaking your lease without breaking the bank.

Review Your Lease

If you have to move out of your apartment early, you’re still responsible for any remaining months of the fixed lease term. It’s important to remember that your lease is a binding contract, and any breach may cause you to incur a penalty. Review the lease terms to see what (if any) fees or penalties you will need to pay for breaking the lease. Pay special attention to rules regarding subletting.

Notify Your Landlord Regarding Breaking Your Lease ASAP

The goal is to give your landlord as much notice as possible and make the transition as easy as you can. Giving your landlord plenty of notice allows them time to find a suitable replacement or alternative that could spare you from paying the remaining months on the lease. Large managed buildings can easily fill vacancies as they’ll have more resources at their disposal. The financial impact of an unexpected vacancy, however, will be much harder on a landlord who owns only a few units. 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 your landlord after all as they can get rent the unit out at a higher price once you vacate.

Have a Replacement Renter on Deck

If you can recommend a renter to take over your lease, you’ll be doing your landlord a major solid. Just keep in mind that subletting is an option so long as it’s not prohibited by your lease. The trick is to find a replacement that will meet or exceed the landlord’s financial requirements. Don’t give them a reason to turn down your replacement by introducing unqualified candidates. Ask friends, family, and social networks if they know anyone that may be able to take over your lease. Remember, the key is to make the transition smooth and painless for your landlord!

Consider a Professional Lease Break Service

If you’ve tapped all of your social networks and still struggling to find a suitable candidate, consider letting a sublet or lease break service do the heavy lifting. Post the details of your listing on Leasebreak which specializes in pairing New Yorkers who need to break their lease with those looking to sublet or take over a lease. Another option if your landlord is game, is Padspin. Padspin takes listings directly from landlords and also handles the vetting of candidates for a one-stop -shop vacancy filling. It’s important to note that this site doesn’t do sublets. Landlords would need to agree to sign a new lease with the replacement renter.