If for any reason you’re in a situation where you need to break the lease to an apartment, it may not be easy. Rental agreements are legally-binding documents that commit you financially, but there may be a few loop-holes to help you get out of a lease early with minimal penalties.

First, you will need to find out what your lease options are. In the best case scenario your landlord may allow you to break your lease with no penalties, they may allow you to sublet or lease your apartment to someone else, negotiate down the penalty charges to a reasonable amount, or other sensible arrangements. Just remember you are the one asking a favor, your landlord is not required to change any of the lease agreements.

It is also a good idea to find out the laws in your state regarding filling a vacant rental; some states do require landlords to make an effort to come to an agreement on breaking a lease early. Also, research what circumstances a lease becomes void under and what maximum penalties are legal for landlords to assess.

We have broken down the chances of getting a penalty from high to low. Below you will find what reasons constitute a likely or unlikely chance of getting out of a lease with no penalties:

High Chance of a Penalty

This category is where most people will find themselves. You have a personal reason for breaking your lease, such as a marriage or a job transfer, but it is not legally recognized as a reason for voiding a penalty. Most states require landlords to attempt to mitigate damages in these situations by making a reasonable effort to re-rent your apartment once you give notice. So be sure in this situation to give as much notice as possible to the landlord and offer to help look for a replacement tenant. Usually, if there is someone to replace your rent the landlord will allow you to terminate your lease early.

Medium Chance of a Penalty

You should be able to break your lease without a penalty (but it is not guaranteed) if your landlord doesn’t live up to their obligations or they invade your privacy. For example if your landlord fails to maintain or repair your apartment or they refuse to talk to noisy neighbors. If your reason for wanting to break your lease, you have a better chance of winning your case but that does not mean a judge will be on your side. Make sure to keep records of your complaints and document any interactions with your landlord.

Low Chance of a Penalty

In some circumstances you are legally allowed to break your lease without paying a penalty. Examples include: If your apartment is seriously damaged, to the point where it is uninhabitable, due to damages not caused by yourself, if you’re called to active military duty, or you must move to assisted living due to health concerns. If any of these reasons apply to you be sure to give your landlord adequate notice and there should be minimal penalties for terminating a lease early.

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