I Just Signed A Lease, Can I Break It?

Editorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

Can I Legally Break My Lease Right After Signing It?

Everyone has felt regret at some time in their life, but hopefully, it’s not right after you sign a legally binding lease. If you immediately regret signing your lease, or something else comes up a couple of days later that makes you wish you hadn’t signed it, you may be wondering “

Life is full of unexpected events, after all. You might think you have a grace period during which you can change your mind with no penalty. Sadly, that is not true. Exploring your options for early lease termination is a complex and tricky task—DoNotPay offers a quick, simple way to handle the details for you.

Isn’t There a Cooling-off Period During Which I Can Change My Mind?

The Federal Trade Commission does have a "Three Day Cooling-Off Rule" that applies to specified types of purchases made in your home or place of work. It does not apply to residential leases. The very moment you sign your lease, it is immediately binding.

DIY Method: How to Break Your Lease Immediately After You Sign It

Just because your lease is immediately binding doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can try to do to solve this issue. You can pursue certain options if they apply to your situation:

Just Cause for Early Termination

It is possible you might have some legally valid reason to break your lease agreement. Laws differ among the states, but if the rental is not up to legal code or not a suitable place to live, you may legally end the lease if the landlord does not correct the problem. Check out your state’s specific laws to better understand what counts as a legal reason to end 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

Other scenarios where you can break a lease without penalty include active military duty, domestic violence, and harassment by the landlord.

Sublet the Rental

If you find that you are locked into the lease, consider a sublease possibility in which you allow someone else to move in and take over the rental payments:

  1. Verify that subleasing is permitted under the conditions of your lease.
  2. If not permitted, ask the landlord if the lease may be amended to allow it due to your circumstances.
  3. If you can sublease, find a renter who can pay rent to you or to the landlord directly.

Property Manager/Landlord Variance

Regardless of legal barriers to breaking your lease, it is always possible to simply ask the landlord to let you out of the lease agreement.

Seems too easy? You may be surprised how many landlords do understand that life circumstances can change and are therefore willing to accommodate your needs. Be polite and show any evidence you might have which supports your reason for backing out.


Your agreement might contain a buyout clause that permits you to exit your lease early. It involves paying your landlord or property manager a fee, which is usually multiple months of rent and no return of your security deposit.

Is There an Easier Way to Break a Lease Without Penalty?

Ending a lease can be tricky and time-consuming. A handy alternative is DoNotPay. Our product can simplify the entire process, and we are confident you will find it to be:

  • Quick - You will not need to spend hours learning your state’s specific renting laws or negotiating with your landlord yourself
  • Successful - We use our legal expertise to help you make a strong case for why you should be able to end your lease
  • Easy - All you have to do is answer a few questions. We will do the rest.

Use DoNotPay to Help You Break Your Rental Lease

If you immediately, 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.

DoNotPay will then cater the solution to your specific solution, including:

  • 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.

More Lease Issues That DoNotPay Can Answer and Solve

DoNotPay can do much more than fix lease and renting issues. Refer to these related articles regarding problems for which we can provide help:

Go Beyond Rental Issues for Quick and Easy Solutions

DoNotPay gives you an easy, automated way to help with a wide list of problems. We offer many additional products to help simplify your life, including (but not limited to):

Our products can give you a simplified and automated way to handle the difficulties of breaking a lease early, and they can certainly help with other tedious and annoying tasks we encounter in life. Let us help by signing up today!

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