What Does It Mean To Break A Lease

Break My Lease What Does It Mean To Break A Lease

What Does It Mean To Break A Lease?

Renting a property can be a great way to have a home without having all the responsibility of owning it yourself. However, there are times when you sign a lease and cannot stay through the full term of the lease. You may be asking yourself: what does it mean to break a lease? Before you consider this option, you will want to know the possible consequences of your actions.

If you are considering breaking your lease, it is important that you know what steps to take in order to get your request granted. Don't know where to start? DoNotPay can help.

When Breaking a Lease is Justified

There are some cases where a tenant can legally break a lease without facing consequences. These cases are protected by state law:

Active Military ServiceActive duty military service members are allowed to terminate a lease early due to orders that require them to relocate.
Constructive EvictionIf the property you are renting is an unsafe environment and the landlord is not making efforts to make it more habitable, you can leave early without penalty, providing you have proof of the landlord's neglect.
Job Relocation, Domestic Violence, and Other IssuesNot every state allows for other reasons to break a lease, but some states do provide protections for victims of domestic violence, those whose jobs have relocated, and even in some cases family health issues.

Reasons That You Can't Use to Break a Lease

There are many reasons that a tenant may want to break a lease, but legally wouldn't be protected by the tenants' rights in the state. Here are four potential reasons that you can’t legally use:

  1. Finding a new place to live
  2. Not liking your neighbors
  3. Getting married
  4. Making demands on a landlord that they are not legally required to fulfill

Consequences of Breaking a Lease

Breaking a lease is a serious breach of contract. When people say “break a lease”, this means that you are violating the terms laid out when you signed the lease contract. There are many potential consequences you may face if your landlord doesn't want to agree to a compromise:

1. Losing a Security Deposit

One of the most common consequences of breaking a lease is losing the security deposit that you provided when you first signed. This is often taken to cover the amount of rent that goes unpaid from breaking the lease.

2. Paying Extra

Sometimes landlords will require the entire amount of the lease to be paid. Others will only require you to pay some type of termination fee, which can add up to two months’ rent. Many states have laws regarding the maximum amount a landlord can charge.

3. Getting Sued

A landlord can sue a tenant for breaking a lease. If you are found in breach of the contract, you can face many fees including rent, other damages, and the cost of finding a new tenant. This legal action could also impact your credit score.

More Information About Breaking Leases by State

Every state has rules and regulations regarding rental properties and leases. It is essential that you understand what your rights are as a tenant in your state and what the potential consequences of breaking your lease will be in that state:

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 on Your Own

Sometimes issues arise that require you to move away from your home. If you are leasing the property, you only have two options: pay out the entirety of your lease or break your lease. Many renters cannot afford to pay out the full lease and find a new place to live at the same time, so breaking a lease is the best option.

There are a few valid legal reasons that a person can legally break a lease. If your reason falls under one of those categories, your state's tenant's rights will make sure that you can break a lease with financial or legal ramifications. However, if your reason does not fall under one of these categories, you could be financially and legally liable for meeting the terms of the lease.

For renters who need to break a lease without a protected reason, the best option is to contact your landlord to see if you can work something out. Sometimes landlords are agreeable to breaking a lease when there is a waiting list for the property, or when they are sympathetic to your situation. When they are not agreeable, it is important to seek out other ways that you can break a lease without taking on a bigger burden.

Breaking a Lease with the Help of DoNotPay

If you are in a position where you will have to break your lease, it isn't always easy to do on your own, especially if you don't know where to start. DoNotPay can help you get started in choosing the best way to break your lease agreement, and then we can help you create a demand letter.

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.


The four options 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.

Other Issues That DoNotPay Can Solve

Along with helping to clear up leasing issues, DoNotPay can also help you with a variety of other tasks. Some of these tasks include:

When you need quick and easy steps to complete a task, DoNotPay has you covered.

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