How To Break a Lease Legally | HotPads

How To Break a Lease Legally

Leases are BINDING, LEGAL agreements that cannot and should not be taken lightly when signing. When you are first signing a lease, make sure you read over the lease line by line so you are fully aware of what you are agreeing to and what responsibilities both you and the landlord are accepting. (For more information about leases, please check out Signing a Lease: What to Look for Before Signing)

However, there are often times when you NEED to break a lease. While most landlords will not accept minor disturbances and complaints as grounds for releasing you from your lease, there are reasons that may prevent you from fulfilling the terms. For example, if you are transferred from your job or military station, if you feel that the landlord is not providing acceptable living conditions, or if you suddenly terminated from your employment and are unable to maintain the payments on rents. The more valid reasoning and proof that you are no longer able to continue your lease, the more likely your landlord will allow you to break it.

If your landlord does not wish to simply void your lease, there are other options that may be deemed acceptable by your landlord. (Once again, this is left up to the discretion of your landlord)


You can ask your landlord if he would allow you to sublet your rental, which means that you would find someone who would be willing to take over your lease for the duration remaining. In effect, you are leasing your apartment from the management company and then subleasing it to another person. Many leases expressly forbid this.

Finding a New Tenant

If your landlord is hesitant to allow you to break your lease, it may be helpful to offer to find a replacement tenant. There is effort involved in finding a new tenant, including advertising and conducting walk-threws. They may be more willing to release you from your lease if they have a guaranteed new tenant that will ensure that they do not lose your rent money by having a vacancy.

Each request for breaking a lease will be individually evaluated by your landlord and is usually up to their discretion as to whether or not you have valid reasons for breaking your contract. However, if you feel that the cause of your dissatisfaction stems from the negligent managing and operating of your rental, you may wish to find out more about your tenant rights and explore your legal options.

Please note: we are not offering legal advice, as we are not lawyers. Any specific questions you may have should be directed at the proper authority.

Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
© 2018 HotPads