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What Should I Do If My Tenant Breaks Their Lease?

Frustrated rental property tenants sitting on couch with cardboard boxes Did you know the majority of tenants who rent single-family homes pick out long-term leases? Still, life can be uncertain, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always suitable to have a plan in place, just in case.

Acceptable reasons for breaking a lease include job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s critical to handle the situation masterfully and follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s basic to always keep in mind that it’s a legally binding agreement. This denotes you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to ascertain that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. By way of example, in multiple states, landlords are responsible for ascertaining that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant in preparation for entering the property.

Failing to adhere to landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in certain states. Other reasons include military service, domestic violence, or uninhabitable property.

Lease Termination Clause

Including an early lease termination clause in your lease documents is a beneficial practice for any landlord, but it is not really required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. Generally, this includes offering a certain amount of advance notice, normally 30 days, and maybe paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or discord if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents tenders your tenant a way out, if needed, and checks that you do not fall upon financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s essential to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be saddening when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation properly and harmoniously is substantial. In such cases, it’s recommended to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s advisable to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they move out. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may have to pay for and what you need to do to get the property ready for a new tenant. As with any tenant, you should calculate any unpaid rent and the cost of repairs and deduct them from their security deposit. It is salient to keep extensive documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder clarifying their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t comply with them. It’s helpful to send this notice by certified mail to establish a paper trail of your actions.

If you’re in a situation where your tenant is not paying the rent, you might have to go through a legal process to collect the owed rent and associated fees. This entails filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is noteworthy for you to disclose to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the necessary actions you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One excellent means to properly ensure that your rental business is operated in a professional and legally compliant manner is by retaining the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you carefully navigate the complexities of property management and establish that your rental property is managed masterfully and transparently.

At Real Property Management Metro, we work professionally on your behalf in Fells Point and nearby to establish excellent tenant relations and work on unpredicted changes. Contact us online or call us at 410-290-3285 to ascertain more as regards this and our other quality services.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

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