Can I End My Lease Early?
You may be able to end a lease early in one of the following situations:
Asking Your Landlord
Both parties in a contract can agree to end the contract early. This means you can simply ask your landlord if you can move out before the end of your lease and they may say yes. They might also agree to an early lease termination in return for a fee.
If everyone agrees, you can end the contract hassle-free. Just be sure to acknowledge the end of your contract in writing with a
(for a periodic tenancy) or
(for a fixed term tenancy).
Finding a New Tenant or Paying a Fee
If you mitigate the damages for your landlord (meaning you recover the cost he or she will lose from ending the contract early), you may be able to end your lease early.
In many states, landlords are prohibited from accepting more than one rent payment per unit. This means you may be able to find a new tenant to end your lease early. Keep in mind, the tenant will likely be required to pass a screening before they can assume your lease.
Alternatively, you might be required to pay a fee (which could equal to a month or more of rent), depending on your Lease Agreement or state laws. The purpose of the fee is to provide the landlord with enough time to find a new tenant.
Being Called to Active Duty
In most states, you need to be deployed for more than 90 days and provide your landlord with 30 days’
notice of termination
before you’re eligible to end your lease for military reasons.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act also prohibits your landlord from evicting you, if you’re eligible.
Whether you’re eligible depends on how high your monthly rent payment is (the qualifying amount changes yearly). Those with expensive rent payments might not qualify for this type of protection.
Frustration of Contract
If an unforeseen circumstance occurs where neither you nor your landlord are at fault but changes your contract drastically, you may be able to end your contract with frustration of contract. For instance, if your neighborhood floods the day you take possession, your contract terms have changed because the property is no longer habitable.
Frustration of contract, sometimes called the doctrine of frustration, is essentially your right (and your landlord’s right) to get out of the contract if an abrupt change makes your contract unperformable.
Often, this principle is used in response to a natural disaster. For example, if you signed the lease and the building was demolished by an earthquake, frustration of contract would apply because the unit no longer exists.
Keep in mind, frustration of contract can only be used in select circumstances. It’s imperative you review your state’s contract laws or contact a local lawyer before attempting to end your rental agreement in this manner.
Providing a Notice of Termination
If your landlord is not meeting their obligations based on the Lease Agreement (such as failing to make repairs in a reasonable amount of time), you may be able to end the lease early using a
Remember to review your state’s laws and your Lease Agreement regarding the amount of notice you need to provide your landlord before ending the lease early.