One of the most common questions that real estate agents face is whether a tenant can vacate their rental property early.
In short, the answer is relatively black and white. Once you sign a lease, you’re legally tied to that lease until the end of the term. After all, a lease is a legal contract in which both parties are agreeing to the written terms of the lease.
Of course, landlords understand that things come up and that life doesn’t always go according to plan. While they’re not legally entitled to grant your wish, they can choose to negotiate the terms of the lease with you.
To help, let’s cover the ins and outs of the art of breaking your apartment lease.
Short and Simple
In short, you cannot choose to break a lease unless your landlord agrees in writing. This is assuming that all of the terms and conditions of the lease are being fulfilled by the landlord.
While you can choose to move out early, you could be on the hook for the remaining month’s rent. If you choose to up and leave, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of a long and drawn out lawsuit. Let’s just say this isn’t exactly worth it for you.
However, there are certain precautions that any tenant can take in an effort to break their lease.
Have a Rational Discussion
First things first, make an effort to have a friendly and rational conversation with your landlord. Remember, landlords are people too! That being said, if you explain the reason for needing to break the lease early, they might agree to give you a break.
In a hot real estate market such as Toronto, finding a new tenant is a relatively simple endeavor. In fact, landlords might even want to replace you as a tenant so that they can raise the rent. If your landlord appears hesitant at your request, don’t be shy in reminding them of the above factors.
Help Your Landlord Out
In efforts of renting your apartment faster, do your best to extend your landlord a helping hand. You can offer to advertise the space and even make an effort to locate a new tenant. You can also ensure that your space is always presentable for new tenants and that you’re allowing your landlord to show the unit throughout the day and on short notice.
Demonstrating to your landlord that you’re willing to cooperate is going to encourage them to negotiate your lease terms. In this scenario, it’s always best to play nice with your landlord and help them out when you can.
Offer to Sublease
Finding a sub-tenant means that you’re finding a new tenant to take over your lease. Your landlord must agree to this new tenant and they must live under all of the same rules and terms that the original agreement entails.
If your landlord is being difficult in allowing you to sublease, be sure to read through your original leasing paperwork. Oftentimes, there will be a clause stating the landlord agrees to the possibility of a subletting.
Offer Your Landlord Financial Compensation
At the end of the day, you can also offer your landlord financial compensation for allowing you to break the lease early. Legally speaking, they are unable to request this financial compensation from you. This is unless it was specified and agreed upon in writing at an earlier date.
This could mean offering to move out the following month and still paying that month’s rent. Either way, this should be a last resort and only practiced when you’re landlord is showcasing their difficulty.
Upon finding out that you need to break your lease, the first thing you should do is talk to your landlord. If you’ve been a good tenant, they’re all the more likely to be accommodating to your request.
You can begin by asking if they would be open to ending the lease at an earlier date. If they’re hesitant, you can discuss the possibility of subletting or offer reasonable compensation to sweeten the deal.
While landlords don’t have to play nice, they’re all the more likely to work with your request when you’re both upfront and honest with them.
Let a Nobul Verified Agent help guide you through the process.