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Key Things to Know About Lease and Agreement Terminations

Are you a renter who is considering breaking your lease early? Or perhaps you’re a landlord who needs to terminate a tenant’s lease early. Here at AbodeStory, we want our property managers, landlords, and renters, to be knowledgeable about your full rights when it comes to leasing agreements. Read on to learn about your rights when it comes to leases and security deposits.

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When Can a Tenant Break a Lease?

Unless the landlord breaks the law and violates the terms of your lease, a tenant is bound to the length of the lease. Examples of landlord term violation include: failing to comply with lease clauses, failing to make necessary repairs, or failing to implement health and safety regulatory measures. One exception, as stated in federal law, and some state laws, is for anyone entering active military service or government related positions, to break leases early without consequences.

When a Tenant Breaks a Lease: 

Legally, a tenant who breaks a lease is responsible for the remaining rent under the lease term. However, it is important to note that landlords are also legally subject to put reasonable effort into finding a new tenant to fulfill the now vacant space, instead of charging the tenant for the remainder of the rent.

When Can a Landlord Break a Lease?

As with tenants, landlords are legally allowed to terminate leases if part(s) of a lease has be violated. This could include major damage to property, subletting when it is not permitted, or late rent payments.

When a Landlord Breaks a Lease:

To terminate the lease, the landlord must provide sufficient notice to the tenant regarding the reason of termination. The landlord must look at your state’s detailed laws surrounding how to write and deliver a termination notice. Landlords can either request the tenant to leave within a set number of days, or they may inform the tenant of the wrongdoing and provide a warning, yet notifying the tenant of lease termination if the problem is not resolved. For some cases, tenants do not comply with the termination notice. In this situation, landlords may file a lawsuit to evict the tenant.

On Returning Security Deposits:

In order to deduct from tenants’ security deposit, the landlord must provide a written, itemized accounting of deductions for things like damaged property, unreasonable cleaning needs, and unpaid rent. Tenants and landlords or property managers should walk through the property together when the tenant moves out to go over any damages or issues left to the property. There are deadlines surrounding when the security deposit must be returned to the tenant, and this varies by state. This period is generally 15 – 30 days after the tenant moves out, search online to find the exact time frame in your state.

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