Life happens. New jobs, new relationships, or simply just a desire for a change of scenery can strike at pretty much any time. Here’s what you’ll need to know if you’re looking to break your Lease and make a change.
Review Your Lease
Your lease is your most reliable resource! Take a peek at it to see what happens when your lease is up. Some leases automatically renew, and some move to a month-to-month basis. Your lease could also state that you must move out when it ends.
Keep in mind that you may not have the same benefits when your lease becomes month-to-month. Check your state laws and your lease to see what that means for you. Generally, you can assume that if you begin renting month-to-month, when you decide you are ready to move out, you will have to give your landlord 30 days written notice before your departure. For example, let’s say you pay rent on the 12th of every month. You have a sweet new pad, and you’re all set to move in there on May 12th. This means you must give Notice by April 12 at the latest to be able to move out May 12 without having to pay for another month.
If your lease automatically renews, make sure that you give your landlord 30 days written notice that you will be leaving (or, again, the period of time your lease states you must give your landlord before moving out). For example, if your lease is up on October 29th, your letter should be delivered to your landlord no later than September 29th.
The Fine Print
If your lease automatically renewed and you had no idea, check state laws and your lease. Checking state laws will inform you what kind of clause needs to be in your lease for it to legally automatically renew. Then, check your lease to make sure the clause is present and correct. If not, you’re in the clear! However, here are a few things to consider if you do need to break your lease.
30 Days Written Notice
Some leases state that you must hand deliver your lease termination letter to your landlord. Others may want it sent through certified mail. Check your lease and state laws to find out proper procedure in your area. Make sure that you keep a copy for yourself, and that in the letter you remind your landlord that you need your security deposit refunded. Take a look at your lease and state laws, because one (or both!) may say that you must give more than 30 days notice when moving out.
Failing to Give Notice
If you fail to give proper notice you may have to pay rent for another month or for the length of your lease if it renewed. Check state laws, and make sure to check your lease, if this is the case. You may be in a situation where you have to break your lease if you did not give proper notice and it automatically renewed. Make sure to check your lease and state laws to make sure 30 days is the proper length of time to notify your landlord. Generally, this is the rule, but your area and your lease could have different laws/requirements. Be in the know, and always make sure you are in the clear before moving out!
If Your Lease Isn’t Up…
That’s another circus all together! If your lease isn’t up and you need to move out ASAP, you may be in a situation where you need to break your lease.
Moving out of a rental
How many days notice should I give my landlord?
California tenant rights
Tenant rights: end of lease‘
Sample lease termination letter
This post was updated from an earlier version on December 29, 2017. Zumper articles should only be considered a resource. Please consult your lease and your state laws for complete and detailed information.
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