I am looking to end my lease 4 months early but my landlord says that i need to find someone to take it over or he will take legal actions! Do i have any legal options? the reason i need to move out early is because i am taking a job offer out of state!

Edited on: Saturday, January 19th, 2013 5:38 pm


My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


April 13th, 2011 4:12 pm

Hi there-

Read read read over your lease contract agreement. See if there is any lease breaking fees you could opt for. Some properties will allow you to break lease if you pay an extra fee. If there are no lease breaking fees, then that means that it is at the landlord’s discretion. By signing a lease, you are signing a legal contract that will hold up in court. You said that you would be responsible for the rent up until a certain date, and by leaving you are breaking a legal contract. Some landlords will negotiate if it is for a job. Is it for the military? If it is and you cannot help being forced to leave, that is a legal way to break a lease. If your job is requiring you transfer without any possibility of staying, that is also a legal way to break a lease. However, opting to leave the state on your own volition will not hold up legally. The best way out of this is to find somebody to replace you, like the landlord said. This means they would have to apply, qualify, sign the lease, and they would be in charge of the apartment until the lease ends instead of you. Survey friends and family, or put a post on Craigslist. People who are eager to save on move in costs might take it over because they will be saving on security deposits, which you have already paid.

However, if you really find nobody who will take over your lease and you turn in your keys anyway, that is usually considered abandonment. What this means is that you basically skipped out on the apartment, rent, and any other obligations on your lease. By doing this, your security deposit will be forfeited. At the complex I work for, we have no breaking fees, so if somebody leaves before their lease is up, it’s abandonment. We have to charge the tenant for any damages, trash/furniture removal, utilities cost of the apartment. Also, we charge the tenant the amount of rent for as many months as it takes to re-rent the space. So, if somebody signs a twelve month lease, leaves after four months, and it takes me two months to fix up the apartment and re-rent it, they will be charged for those two months of rent, as well as any damages like the ones I’ve listed.

I hope this helps your decision!


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