If you watch TV, listen to the radio, or access the internet, it is virtually impossible to escape ads from mortgage lenders, alerting you to the fact that interest rates are low (historically low!). But perhaps you haven’t yet taken advantage and bought a home. Maybe you’re saving up for a down payment, working on improving your credit score, still searching for that first “career” job, or waiting to start a family first. For whatever reason, the siren song of mortgage lenders has fallen on deaf ears, and thus, you are currently renting. But what happens when your circumstances change, and you are suddenly in a position to buy a home? What if you still have six or nine months left on your lease? Here are four tips on how to break your lease with as little pain as possible:
Read your lease.
Even though friends and relatives may warn you about how hard it will be to “break” your lease, check anyway. Your lease may contain an “opt-out” clause, which may allow you to end the lease early in exchange for a fee. Even if it doesn’t have such a provision, read it anyway – you’ll become more educated and may find another way to work with your landlord to wriggle out of your lease.
Speaking of your landlord… TALK!
Assuming your landlord isn’t Gordon Gekko, it makes sense to make an effort to speak with them. You will never know if they are willing to let you out early unless you ask.
Find a new tenant.
Even better than just going to your landlord with your problem – help them find a solution. By helping them find a new tenant, you’ll have a much better chance of escaping your lease early. You might even be able to use a site like Flip, which helps renters who want to get out of a lease connect with potential new tenants to take their place.
Don’t just walk away.
Worst. Idea. Ever. Don’t think that throwing the keys at your landlord and walking away will fix your problem. Unlike a mortgage, which can be ended this way (disclaimer: don’t do this. If your mortgage is a non-recourse loan, the bank will likely just come for your home, but your credit will be trashed), walking away from a lease could land you in hot water. You could face a lawsuit, potentially have your wages garnished or a lien placed on the property. And your credit will be trashed.
Want more rental advice? Check out the original article, How to Break a Lease Early on Realtor.com.