There are numerous reasons for wanting to get out of your lease, maybe you found the perfect apartment that rents in another area of town or maybe your work is moving you across the state. No matter why you may need to get out of your lease, it can be difficult to do just that. Although it can be tricky, you have numerous options you might not know about that are perfectly legal ways to end your lease.
Find Someone to Take Over Your Lease
Finding someone to take over your lease is different than subletting. With a sublet, you still carry the burden of the lease ownership, while another person simply pays you for time spent in the apartment, which you, theoretically, would pass on to your landlord.
Finding someone to take over your lease, however, is a phenomenon in which you transfer ownership of the lease to another person. Not all landlords accept this, and in some cities, this is in fact an illegal activity. However, if it is legal you can find another occupant to sign on as the leaseholder, releasing you of your responsibility.
Is Your Landlord Fulfilling the Duties Required of the Lease?
Whenever you sign a lease, remember that it is legally binding; this means that, on the landlord's end, there are certain legalities that she or he must adhere to, as well. If there are violations of habitability or safety to which your landlord has not adhered, you may be eligible to end your lease early. For example, if there are any safety or hygienic hazards that your landlord has not fixed in a reasonable amount of time, you may have legal recourse to end your lease early.
Check to See if Your Lease Is Month-to-Month
Although most people simply assume that their lease exists on a year or two year long basis, there are many cases where people have discovered that their lease exists on a month-to-month basis. If you have a month-to-month lease, you may leave the premises at any time, save that your rent has been paid for the month that you are currently living there. It is good form to inform your landlord a month ahead of when you will be leaving the apartment, although it is usually not a legal necessity.
Your Situation May Allow You to Terminate a Lease Early
Depending on your situation, you may very well be able to terminate a lease earlier than expected. For example, military personnel that are going to go on active duty for 90 days or more are able to terminate their lease in accordance with the Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Similarly, those individuals who have been on the victim's end of domestic abuse may also terminate their lease early without any sort of legal recourse, provided they can obtain proof of a court case.
Force Majeure Clause
Your lease may have a Force Majeure clause buried somewhere within its text. These clauses basically amount to "acts of God" clauses. Under such clauses, phenomenon that exists beyond the control of the tenant or landlord may force the tenant out of the dwelling. These include a variety of situations, but they are largely natural disasters. Floods, tornadoes and earthquakes can all be ground for the early termination of a lease. There are even situations where civil unrest may be grounds for lease termination.
Getting out of a lease early can be a difficult proposition. However, as noted in this article, there are plenty of ways that you can manage to terminate a lease and continue with your life as planned; hopefully a life in a new apartment rental that suits you better.