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Breaking a Lease
  • Hank April 8, 2013 - 3:13 pm #70210 Reply

    Hello, I have a question for anyone familiar with rental property law or anyone who has been in a similar situation…  My current apartment is a tiny two bedroom that houses a dog, a baby, a tall/fat guy, and a pregnant chick. The lease is up June 1 and my wife is due beginning of July.  We were hoping to buy a place by then, but as has been noted, there is not a lot of inventory on the market.  We’ve gotten outbid on both properties we were interested in, and I have a feeling we’ll bid on quite a few more properties before we actually purchase something.

    So we were thinking about renting a larger place to accommodate the four of us plus dog.  However, I’m worried that if something awesome came on the market that we had a legitimate shot at, we’d be stuck in our lease and unable to make the purchase.  I was wondering if there are any hard and fast laws about breaking a lease or if it totally depends on the contract.  Like, if we were to lose the security deposit and a month’s rent, I’d be okay with that.  But if we’d be responsible for the entire term of the lease, that would be a different story.



    Swag April 8, 2013 - 4:00 pm #70211 Reply

    The law is whatever is in the contract you sign. Most places I’ve lived are fine with it if there’s somebody else ready to move in, but you’d be even better off subletting the apartment (though then the onus is on you to find someone). When you go to rent a bigger place, pay close attention to the lease-break penalty in the contract (and if doesn’t mention one, have the landlord add a section either describing it or saying there isn’t one) and don’t be afraid to negotiate it if the penalty seems stiff. Also, you might try looking for a month-to-month or someone renting a house while it’s on the market.

    Hank April 8, 2013 - 4:39 pm #70218 Reply

    Thanks, Swag.  I hadn’t considered asking the landlord to amend the contract if a lease-break penalty isn’t included.  I’d looked at month-to-month and short-term rentals, but those are generally pricey.  Perhaps the best way is to lease something and hope I can find someone to sublet the remaining months.  Thanks for the advice.

    John Fontain April 9, 2013 - 11:32 am #70259 Reply

    I’d suggest moving into a larger rental unit in a building that specializes in short-term rentals.  There are lots of them in this area.  Otherwise, I’d suggest toughing it out in your current rental if your landlord will allow you to extend on a short-term or month to month basis.

    Hank April 9, 2013 - 3:05 pm #70291 Reply

    Hello John.  Yeah, we’d thought about sticking with our apartment, but I think it’ll just be a bit too small.  Thanks, I’ll take a look at buildings that do short-term… perhaps there are some better deals than I’d seen.

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