What Are the Consequences of Breaking a Lease Early?

Break My Lease What Are the Consequences of Breaking a Lease Early?

What Are the Consequences of Breaking a Lease Early?

Although you may feel that you have the right to move out of your home whenever you want to, there are limited circumstances under which you can legally break your lease without penalty. In most states, you will usually need to present evidence of some type of safety issue, such as harassment from your landlord, safety concerns with the rental that your landlord has not fixed within a timely manner, or domestic violence. Military obligations and certain health concerns can also qualify.

If you do not break your lease legally, there are consequences of breaking your lease that can be life-altering and serious. Here is an overview of those potential penalties and how DoNotPay can help you avoid the consequences that can come with improperly breaking your lease.

The Consequences of Illegally Breaking a Lease

Since a lease is a legally binding contract, moving out without telling your landlord that you intend to break your lease or not fulfilling any obligations your lease requires can have significant consequences. Attempting to follow the proper procedures for breaking a lease with a valid reason can have similar ramifications if your reason for breaking your lease does not qualify as legally valid.

If you illegally break your lease, here are some of the potential consequences for breaking a lease:

  • Your landlord may be able to sue you for breaking your contract or for any costs associated with your early departure.
  • Your landlord may classify the situation to be an eviction based on your failure to hold up your end of the agreement of your lease.
  • Both situations may impact your credit and your likelihood of obtaining a positive reference from your landlord, which may make getting another rental more difficult.
  • Your landlord may sue you for breach of contract, which will lead to you having to appear in court and paying legal fees.

Insufficient Reasons That Can't Be Used to Break a Lease

Unfortunately, the majority of the reasons an average person would have for wanting to break a lease are not considered to be legitimate reasons for breaking your legal contract with your landlord.

Leases can typically only be broken without consequences under the most extreme circumstances, and simply finding a rental you like better generally does not qualify. Although plenty of situations in your personal life may make you wish breaking your lease was an option, your landlord usually does not have to allow you to do so in these circumstances where you want to:

  • Move closer to family or move in with a family member
  • Move to a larger or smaller rental
  • Change roommates
  • Move closer to a new job
  • Move to a part of the country that better fits your lifestyle

Rules for Breaking Your Lease Early by State

Every state has differing rental and tenancy laws. Check out your state’s specific rules to better understand what defines a legal reason to break your lease:

TexasCaliforniaNew York
IllinoisNorth CarolinaOhio
GeorgiaVirginiaWashington State
ColoradoNew JerseyPennsylvania
South CarolinaMinnesota Alabama
Washington DCKansasKentucky
LouisianaNew MexicoArkansas
HawaiiUtahWest Virginia
New HampshireNebraskaMaine
IdahoSouth DakotaNorth Dakota
VermontRhode IslandMississippi

How to Break a Lease Without Consequences on Your Own

If your situation fits one of the limited legitimate reasons for breaking your lease, you will still need to ensure that you do so correctly to avoid potential legal consequences or problems renting in the future.

Under most circumstances, you will be expected to provide your landlord with at least 30 days' notice that you plan to leave and pay your last month's rent in full. Check your state’s laws per lease type for more specific lease termination notice requirements.

This notice will typically need to be in writing, and your landlord may also include other specific steps or conditions that must be followed to prevent your notice from being declined. Your landlord may, for example, require you to make any needed repairs before leaving or set up a payment plan for catching up on your rent if you are currently behind. You may also need to provide proof for your lease termination reason.

Next Steps for Breaking a Lease Without Consequences if You Can't Do It Yourself

Attempting to break a lease by yourself can be a hassle, even if you have a legitimate reason for doing so, and even a minor mistake can result in unnecessary consequences. For this reason, choosing DoNotPay's robot lawyer service is a simple way to make sure you inform your landlord of your plans and complete any additional obligations you may have correctly the first time.

Once you provide us with a few basic pieces of information about the terms of your current lease and why you are looking to break it, we can notify your landlord on your behalf to ensure that no important details that support your need to break your lease are missing.

We can also help in cases where you feel like you have a legitimate reason to break your lease, like hardship, but the reason is not legally recognized. We can write a demand letter to your landlord for you.

Break a Lease in 3 Steps With the Help of DoNotPay

Here's how you can get started in 3 easy steps:

  1. Search Break My Lease on DoNotPay.


  2. Prepare a signed copy of your lease that you can use as a reference, and enter the state the lease was signed in.


  3. Let us guide you through the 4 potential options.


Depending on your situation, DoNotPay will create the perfect solution for you, which may include:

  • If you're a uniformed service member breaking a lease to fulfill your service obligations, we'll send your landlord an SCRA Protection Letter.
  • If you're breaking your lease for a reason protected by your state's tenant laws, we'll write your landlord a letter detailing your protections for breaking the lease under the relevant law.
  • If your reasons for breaking your lease aren't protected by federal or state law, but you'd like to try to convince your landlord to let you break the lease through mutual agreement, we'll draft a hardship letter making your case to your landlord.
  • If there are no remaining options for breaking the lease with protection, but your state requires landlords to mitigate damages to tenants who break their leases, we'll notify your landlord of that obligation and minimize the remaining rent you have to pay.

Why Use DoNotPay to Break Your Lease

Breaking a lease can be a complex process with many potential ways to make a mistake. If you have a legitimate reason for needing to break your lease, you likely cannot afford to waste any more time than necessary to resubmit your notice if you need to make any changes to align with local guidelines. DoNotPay's robot lawyer is:

  • Faster than potentially having to contact your landlord multiple times yourself
  • An easier and more convenient option when you likely have several other things to do to get ready to move in a short amount of time
  • A better way to make sure you avoid as many extra fees as possible than attempting to handle the details yourself

DoNotPay Works Across Many Lease Issues

Our process is just as simple, no matter where you need to break a lease. We can help you break your lease without the hassle no matter what state you live in, and we are always here to help if military obligations, ongoing domestic violence, safety concerns in your new rental, or other continuing circumstances force you to break more than one lease within a relatively short amount of time.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do to Solve Your Problems?  

DoNotPay is a simple solution for dealing with a wide range of problems without leaving home. Here are four things we can help you with, but we can help with so much more:

  1. Breach of contract
  2. Reducing property taxes
  3. Change your mailing address
  4. The power of attorney

At DoNotPay, we are here to help you avoid consequences if you need to break your lease. Contact us today to get started!

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