Tenant tips: Breaking a lease

While responsible renters plan ahead and do not sign lease documents until they are prepared to stay in the property for the appropriate length of time, life sometimes produces unexpected circumstances that force people to change plans.

A job transfer from one office to another, an ailing family member who needs looking after or something else might be the cause for a tenant to have to move. Regardless, there are typically consequences and complications. Landlords need to earn money on their units, and renters may be obligated to pay rent for the period of the lease, or some kind of fee for departing early.

The lease terms will specify what is required, according to Bankrate. They may leave room for negotiation, however, and landlords are likely to be more willing to compromise the further in advance they are informed of the coming change. This gives them more time to find a replacement. They may be willing to let the renter sublet the apartment, or trade assistance in locating a replacement for reducing the cost of breaking the lease.

Renters should remember the difficulty they are imposing, however unintentionally, on their landlords. Trying to work with them, rather than escape obligations, is likely to produce better results.