How To Break A Lease On An Apartment

The Do's and Don'ts

Published On: Jul 27 2013 01:48:27 PM EDT

By Law Offices of Reese Samley Wagenseller Mecum Longer

Renting an apartment is not something you should enter lightly. The lease you sign with your landlord is a legally binding contract and cannot be easily broken. In fact, breaking your contract could end up causing you serious legal problems. You could end up in a lawsuit, it could hurt your credit, and it could also cause difficulties for you when applying for apartments in the future. Your lease obligates you to pay rent for the entire length of your contract, and if broken early, you still are legally required to pay the remainder of rent due to your landlord.

There are some circumstances that allow you to break your lease without a penalty or with a minimal penalty.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to get out of your lease, there are some options for you.

It’s important to remember that your landlord has an obligation to re-rent the place after you move out. They cannot leave the place vacant and then sue you for the remainder of your rent at the time that you lease would have ended. The law requires them to take reasonable steps to find a new renter. Remember that reasonable does not mean extraordinary. They are allowed to be picky, but you are welcome to help find an acceptable replacement renter.  If your landlord does nothing, he cannot require back payments of rent from you. It’s standard to lose your security deposit or a month’s rent, but the law protects you from his negligence. Make sure you check with your particular state on what their laws require.  If you have a particularly complicated situation or difficult landlord, it may be best to consult with an attorney who has experience in landlord-tenant relationships.

The members of the Law Offices of Reese, Samley, Wagenseller, Mecum, and Longer practice in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and collectively have 160 years of experience between them. One of their many areas of practice is Landlord-Tenant Relationships.