Sensible Home Management

What Do You Do When A Tenant Wants To Break Their Lease? A Guide To Premature Lease Termination For Landlords

A woman giving keys to the landlord

Your renter has decided to end the contract early. So, what’s next? They signed a formal contract agreeing to the conditions, including paying rent until moving out.

But, just as the lease protects the landowner, there are rules in place to safeguard renters who wish to leave. As a landlord, you must understand how to manage these circumstances so that you can effectively communicate and equitably, meet legal processes, and, eventually, achieve your outcome. Here is what you need to know.

The Reasons Why Renter Requesting An Early Lease Termination

Renters wish to terminate their leases for a variety of reasons, including personal (divorce, death, domestic violence, illness), economic (loss of job, job transfer), and landowner violation (intrusion, un-habitual living). Based on the circumstances, the landlord may be required by law to release the renter without compensation.

Furthermore, each state has its understanding of what makes a good cause to terminate a lease, so performing your homework and learning what your local law would allow is crucial. At any time, unforeseen and unpleasant events might develop. As a result, you should still expect your renter to follow the lease’s rules, attempt to stay empathetic and understanding of their situation.

What To Do When Renter Wants an Early Lease Termination

Start Looking for New Renter

Most states require you to find a new renter if your renter gives you a written early termination of a contract notice and wants to vacant the property before the contract expires. You can’t legally bind the renter to the contract terms and pay rent as the property stands unoccupied until the lease expires.

Make an Early Lease Termination Clause

Include an early termination of the contract term in your leasing agreement from the start to spare both you and the renter the hassle of trying to find a new renter. You may secure yourself while still giving the renter an easy route out if you legalize the option of early termination with accompanying costs. It relieves the tenant of responsibility for the outstanding payments of the lease and provides you with money to cover the cost of a vacant property for several months while you look for a new renter.


Many leases have included an early termination charge if the lease is terminated early. Furthermore, the law mandates the renter to compensate your damages until you find a new renter. You can ask them to pay rent until you locate a new renter. It is, nonetheless, beneficial to spell everything out in the agreement.

Leasing documents

What Should a Lease Early Termination Agreement Contain?

Create a comprehensive early termination of lease provision with the help of your lawyer. The following are some points you might wish to consider:

  • The notice period for early termination (before 30-60 days)
  • The amount of an early termination charge (1 or 2 months’ rent payment)
  • Tenants participating in the termination must sign a written notice.
  • Before tenant(s) depart, any remaining rent or charges outstanding will be paid in full.

Buying Out the Termination

A renter can choose the buy-out option if they wish to terminate the lease early. To discuss a buy-out, the landowner does not need to terminate the lease.

Since you can charge your renter rent until you locate an alternative, tenants may want to pay a non-refundable fee to stop the arrangement and move. As said before, this charge is usually equal to two months’ rent. This may appear to be a good bargain if two months or less are left in the agreement.

You Can Not Consider The Security Deposit as Rent

Rolled American Dollars

Although imposing an early termination charge is legal, taking the security deposit and utilizing it as rent is not. You took the security deposit to cover any damages to the property that were made by the tenant’s presence. If you use this money to pay rent, you won’t be able to perform the repairs that you’d ordinarily need after a renter leaves.

Keep in mind that a renter who wishes to end their contract will most likely lose their deposit. In this instance, they’re more likely to intentionally damage the apartment or refuse to pay the rent. This deposit will be used to perform renovations and then claim compensation for unpaid rent.

However, property owners can also put a clause in the lease agreement that states that if a tenant wishes to terminate the lease, they must surrender the security deposit.

Subleasing Condition in the Contract

Including a subleasing term in the lease agreement might be a decent choice for tenants who want to move out quickly or can no longer afford their rent. It may be a practical option for landowners since the former renter will locate a new renter, and you will be able to sign a lease agreement with the new renter.

What happens if my renter refuses to deal?

If a tenant wishes to vacate the premises before the expiration of their lease, they must be cooperative, sympathetic, fair, and follow the lease’s formalities.

If they refuse or otherwise will not pay their rent without prior conversation and agreement, they violate the lease conditions, and you may seek legal action against them.

Hire a Property Manage To Avoid Such Hassle

 A man giving paper and pen to a woman

It takes a lot of effort to keep track of your renters, money, and paperwork, particularly when things grow difficult. Think about hiring a property manager to manage all aspects of rental vacancy and leasing, as well as communication and other issues.

Sensible Home Management is here to help you in your search for affordable property management in Pierce County. We can help you with tenant screening, property inspection, and leasing services.

For more information, call us at (253) 236-0337for the best residential property management.