Understanding the Penalties to Breaking Your Lease
There are many reasons why someone may want to break their lease; however, it is important to understand that a lease is a binding, legal contract between you and your landlord, so breaking it IS a breach in contract and WILL come with a cost. If you are renting and are house hunting, if you close on a house, you can set your move-in date for after your lease is up, or try to arrange your home move-in as close as possible to the end of your lease.
Regardless of why you end up breaking your lease, Kansas City moving companies want you to understand your chances of penalty; when they are lowest and when they are highest.
LOW: Your chances of having a penalty enforced for breaking your lease will be lowest and possibly nonexistent if you meet the following criteria:
- Your apartment is severely damaged
- You are called to active military duty
- You fall into a serious health condition (in some states this is grounds to break a lease
MEDIUM: If you meet any of the following criteria, you may or may not have to pay to break your lease.
- Your landlord is not following the guidelines stated within the leasing contract (if your landlord refuses to fix necessary repairs, etc.)
- Your landlord ignores your requests for him/her to take action on a situation that you have brought to his/her attention (if you have a consistent neighborly disturbance and your landlord does not take action to prevent it)
HIGH: Unfortunately, most cases where tenants wish to break their lease, fall into this category, where there is absolutely nothing that they can do to avoid having to pay a fee.
- Moving because you bought a home
- Moving due to a break-up or divorce
- Moving because you do not like the landlord, for a reason that is not covered by law
Understand that if you have signed a lease for one year, or any set term, you agreed to pay for that duration of time, so backing out on that contract COULD mean that you are still responsible to pay the monthly rent, at least until your landlord has a new tenant sign a lease for that residence.
If you have signed a set term and decide to break your lease and pay until a new tenant is found, make sure that you keep track of when they have a new tenant sign a lease. If they do not tell you that they have placed new tenants in the rental and they continue to collect money from you…that is ILLEGAL. A landlord cannot charge you rent even after you break the lease, if they find a replacement who signs a lease; they cannot collect double rent on one residence.
If you will be breaking your lease based on a reason that is solely personal, do yourself and your landlord a favor and give them as much notice as possible, before you plan on hiring a moving company and moving out. You can also offer to find someone to move in the day that you move out, so that the rental does not go vacant.