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How to Get Out of an Apartment Lease Without Penalties When Moving?

Posted in How-to,Planning the Move on November 1, 2022

If you are currently planning on relocating to a new state or city, you should know that ending leases early can cost you some money. If you want to know how to get out of an apartment lease without paying penalties and additional expenses, this guide will help you find out everything you can about your legal rights in situations like this.

If You’re Planning on Moving, You Need to Know How to Get Out of an Apartment Lease Early

Suppose you are planning to move to another city and are carefully considering which steps you should take. Whether you are moving for love or perhaps planning to get a job in a new city, you have to organize your move and ensure that you handle each one of your obligations carefully. One of the most important things you have to take care of before relocating to a new home is breaking the agreement with your current landlord.

If this is your first time relocating, you may not be so sure about how to break an apartment lease and what are the consequences of that. This is why educating yourself on this topic is important, so you can create smart decisions and smoothly end your lease without paying any penalties and harming your relocating budget. This will make your move less stressful, and you will be more excited about starting a new chapter in your life.

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What Penalties Could You Expect When Canceling a Rental Agreement?

One of the most important things you need when renting a flat is a contract or an agreement with your landlord. One of the things most people forget about when relocating is that tenants are not in the position to cancel rental agreements on their terms whenever they wish to.

A lease or tenancy is a contract, and it is designed to keep both parties protected when it comes to renting a certain property. Your landlord is not required to let you break the tenancy and can actually charge you penalties for breaking a rental contract. Some typical penalties you could be expecting when breaking out of this rental contract are:

  • Flat fee for contract termination, which is usually equivalent to two or three months’ rent. Meaning that if your rent is $1,000 per month, you will need to cover a fee of $2,000 before leaving the estate.
  • Additional costs can occur when you owe a back due or a current rent, or you perhaps have to pay some fees to cover damages in the estate.
  • Having to pay the full rent until a different tenant is found or until your tenancy expires is also a possible scenario and happens quite often.
  • Paying the entire tenancy upfront, which can be problematic if you are in the beginning or middle of your contract. However, in this situation, it can be possible to get credit back if another tenant is found.

It Is Important to Make an Agreement With Your Landlord

These penalties all seem very expensive and could possibly harm your finances, especially if you are planning on relocating without a job. This is why it is best to create a fitting consensus about the breakage. Your proprietor should be the most important person to notify you about your move as soon as you start turning your plan about moving across the country to a different state into reality.

Explain to your proprietor the reasons for your move and why it is important for you to end the contract. You should both have time to think about the breakage in order to come up with the best solution – so try to avoid last-minute relocating if possible.

Woman talking to a landlord about moving across the country
Talking to your landlord can be beneficial for making the best consensus

Breaking an Apartment Lease Without Penalties and Negotiations Is Possible in Specific Situations

You may think at first that ending a contract without penalties is impossible unless your proprietor approves of such a thing. However, that is not the case. There are a few different situations where you are in a position to cancel the contract and leave the place without having to pay a dime.

Before you start making any bold decisions, carefully observe the situation you are in. Start by reading your tenancy contract and see what the consequences are of you ending the tenancy. This document will be the most important thing that will help you understand the situation you are in and help you find the most suitable solution.

Determine Whether You Have Legal Reasons to Break Your Property Tenancy

To make the smartest decision, you have to be aware of all your legal rights as a tenant. First of all, you should know all the situations considered to be an exception when it comes to contract termination and where you can smoothly get out of your place tenancy without paying any penalties. This will also help you save money to move. Read about these situations and determine whether some apply to you and your reason for cross-country moving.

Exception for military service

According to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) (which you can find in The US Department of Justice), landlords are not allowed to give penalties to active duty military members who are being relocated by the military. Whether the military member has been in the estate for a month, week, or even two days – he has the right to leave it without being penalized.

Violation of tenant rights

This situation can be a serious problem that allows you to leave without a financial penalty. Suppose the proprietor is failing at his job to maintain the place properly, and the issues in the estate can qualify as violations of the habitability standard. In that case, you are obligated to end the contract.

Illegal proprietor actions

In case you have situations where your proprietor enters the unit without advance notice or is performing acts that could possibly put you in danger (such as harassment or changing locks), you are in the position to break the rental contract without penalties.

If the property unit is illegal

The situation in which you live on an illegal estate allows you to get out without penalties whenever you wish to. However, state laws in situations like this vary dramatically.

Communicate With Your Landlord Once You Know Your Rights and Put It in Writing

Before you start negotiations with your proprietor, first scrutinize the contract. Determine whether some exceptions apply to you and your situation, and determine which legal rights you have. You should start making arrangements with your proprietor and explain to them all the legal rights you have.

In case you come to a consensus of leaving the estate without being penalized, you must not forget to put it in writing. Writing the contract and signing it is one of the best relocating tips. If you want the situation to be on your side, you must focus on making everything lawful and on paper. Simple misunderstandings often escalate to legal issues, so try to avoid these unpleasant scenarios.

Man reading a contract
Carefully read the contract before making any decisions and agreements

Carefully Think About the Consequences That Can Happen After You Break the Agreement

If you are willing to move efficiently and leave home fast and smoothly, you have to think a few steps ahead. Even if you manage to create a contract and leave your place and officially decide when is the time to move – there are still some things you must not ignore. You have to think about all the possible consequences in order to prepare for them just in case.

For example, your proprietor may decide to start a lawsuit against you, even if you’ve made a consensus. This is why you should carefully consider it while writing the contract. You can call a lawyer and get advice on how to write proper agreements so you can protect yourself from getting a lawsuit and losing in court.

Man signing contract for house
When making decisions about breaking a lease contract, you have to think about your future

Try to Protect Your Credit Score – So You Don’t Have Problems in the Future

When ending a tenancy and moving cross country, your number one priority is saving your finances and deducting any possible expenses. However, your financial situation is not the only thing you should be worried about. While trying to find the best option for deducting your penalties, you may end up in a situation where your credit score is lowered.

However, a low credit score can be a much bigger problem than paying one or two rents to your proprietor. A lowered credit score can possibly mean that you won’t be able to get a new tenancy, and you will have difficulties with getting a loan. If you need some useful advice when it comes to ending your tenancy, consider watching this fun and educational video below.

Make an Exception and Choose an Option With Minimal Losses for Both You and the Landlord

While thinking about the best possible way to leave your place early and end your contract, carefully consider which options are most convenient for you. Maybe ending a tenancy early without penalty is only good on short terms but could potentially create problems later. Before rushing to end a contract and leaving your home – you might want to explore more options.

There Are Few Beneficial Options With Minimum Penalties

It might be a good idea to talk to your proprietor about some options which could cause both of you less stress. Creating a beneficial situation for both of you will require some negotiation with the proprietor. For example, maybe you should consider:

  • Offering your security deposit – once you decide you’re going to leave their property early, you can offer the proprietor your security deposit. This may be enough to offset their financial loss and avoid any inconvenience.
  • Try subletting if your tenancy allows it – you can talk to your proprietor and ask them if they are willing to let you assist him with finding a new tenant. You could find a person who could take over your tenancy and save your proprietor from losing any money.
  • Agree to give money in a few installments – in case you have to pay for two or three rents to your proprietor, you can ask them to do you a favor and let you pay later on or in installments.

Once You Find the Best Solution – Hire Long Distance Movers To Help You With Relocating Efficiently

The moment you finally create a nice consensus with your proprietor and are ready to start preparing for the move, consider hiring cross-country movers to make your relocation much more accessible and efficient. Booking different cross-country moving services means you won’t have to worry about a single thing.

Your movers will offer full packing services and even useful storage units where you can leave some stuff while relocating. The assistance you get from professional movers will be very useful when long-distance moving, making the entire process much smoother and more relaxed.

Lucy Lucas

Born and raised in Miami Lucy is a content writer with a love of moving and packing. She is an expert at making sure everything fits into her suitcase.

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