Best practices for ending your apartment lease early

by Tom Simplot

May 17, 2015

Sometimes you just have to move: new job, end of school, health issues. The reasons are endless. But vacating before the end of your lease can have serious consequences.

Take time to consider how you will end your lease and you can avoid major issues and costs. This column assumes your apartment community is not in breach of contract; that is, it is providing a safe place to live and has not broken its end of the contract.

Continue to pay your rent. Don’t just move out and assume once you are out, you don’t have to pay. You are still responsible for the rent payments through the end of your lease.

See if your lease has an early termination clause. Many owners include an early termination clause to anticipate situations where breaking the lease is necessary. The clause may spell out certain situations like job, health or family situations that will permit early termination.

Read the termination policy. Understand penalties and how much notice you need to give to terminate your lease.

Talk with your apartment manager or owner. Be respectful. Don’t use threats or be angry when the team enforces the contract you signed. It might help to explain your situation and ask for help.

Read the lease for information on the refund policy for deposits. You may lose your security deposit. There may be wiggle room for you to negotiate your security deposits in exchange for breaking the lease early.

Secure your next apartment before you terminate your current lease. Consider all the consequences of breaking your lease and be sure this is the right choice for you.