How Much Does It Cost to Break a Lease?

In most cases, you have to pay monetary penalties to your landlord for breaking your lease unless you can eliminate the landlord's re-renting costs or you manage to get your landlord to agree not to charge you anything. The amount you have to pay for ending your lease term early depends on your circumstances.



If you can find someone to take over your lease, you may not have to pay anything for breaking your lease. You can find a new tenant by asking friends and relatives or placing advertisements. However, your landlord has the right to refuse renting the property to the person you recommend. If the landlord approves the new tenant, she can sign a new lease or the landlord can add the new tenant's name to your lease and remove your name. This removes any liability you have on your lease.


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You can also minimize your cost by subletting the apartment. This involves getting written permission from your landlord and finding someone to sublease your apartment. The sub-lessee will occupy the property, but you will remain liable to your landlord for the sub-lessee's rent payment and any damages caused by the sub-lessee. This reduces the cost you incur for moving out, but may result in higher expenses if the sub-lessee fails to pay rent or damages the property.



Your lease may contain early termination provisions that detail what happens if you break the lease. However, your landlord has the power to release you from the lease without charging you anything. After deciding to move, talk to your landlord. Your landlord may require you to pay an amount he specifies before moving out. If your landlord agrees to release you from your lease without repercussions, your moving out early does not have to cost you anything. After reaching an agreement, get your landlord to put it in writing.


Moving Out

If you move out without making arrangements, you may have to pay high expenses. Your landlord may also sue you, and your credit may suffer. You usually have to pay for any rent during the remainder of your lease term between the day you move out and the day a new tenant moves in. If your landlord does not make a good-faith effort to find a new tenant, you may not have to pay the rent. You may also have to pay any re-letting costs, such as advertising. Your landlord may take some of your personal property from the rental unit until you pay him.