How to Get Out of a Lease Early (Without Losing Your Money or Your Mind)
There once was a woman who found the apartment of her dreams. It was the right price, closer to friends and family, and a huge upgrade from the apartment she currently lived in. But there was a catch: Her lease wasn't up for another few months and the thought of breaking it was making her break out in hives.
If you're one of the 100 million Americans who rent, you're probably familiar with signing a lease—but you might not be as familiar with the clauses in the contract you actually agreed to.
Leases vary by state and property, so if you're looking to get out of one, the first thing to do is reexamine your contract. The next step is to consider the consequences of breaking it. Landlords can sue you for missed rent you've agreed to pay, which can mean additional legal costs, and a dent in your credit score if the outcome isn't in your favor. A landlord-tenant dispute can also make it harder to get approved for a new place when you're ready to move.
But before you completely give up on getting out early, there are a few options worth exploring.
Dig out that lease and check for the following:
- A subletting clause
Some leases allow for subletters, which means if you can find a suitable person to rent your space from you for the same price—and potentially take over your lease when it expires, you're golden. The next step is to talk to your landlord about what they require and/or need to approve a sublease in order for you to start searching for someone to take over your place.
- A 30-day notice clause
You may think you have a yearly lease, but if you read the fine print, it might be a month-to-month rental that only requires thirty days notice to move out. If this is the case, contact your landlord in writing with your 30-day notice (you should also check to see if the notice must be accordance with the first or last day of the month).
- An early termination clause
Sometimes, landlords include a clause that lets you out of your lease early in cases of unexpected hardship. As Moneycrashers notes, this can include anything from losing your job to medical emergencies.
Have a conversation with your landlord:
Feel out your landlord by explaining your situation in soft terms (you're thinking of relocating and you're curious how flexible they are when it comes to an earlier lease expiration date). Ask whether they would be open to it, what kind of advance notice would be optimal for them, or if they'd be willing to consider an "out" if you found a suitable tenant to rent the apartment. They may welcome the chance to rent the apartment out earlier than expected, depending on when you're looking to move out. If they seem amenable, follow up in writing with your proposed dates.
Find a suitable tenant:
If your landlord agrees to let you out of your lease on the condition you find someone to replace you, you still have some work to do. It's time to do some glamour shots of your place, create a landlord approved listing and spread the word on social media. Be sure to include any stipulations your landlord will require—from credit checks to security deposits—so your prospective replacement comes prepared and ready to impress.
Check for breaches of contract:
Maybe you're ready to move because your apartment is unlivable. On your lease, you should find the clause wherein the landlord agrees to provide a "warranty of habitability"—or a safe, habitable environment that doesn't negotiate your well-being. Breaches of such an agreement may range from repeated infestations, mold issues, lack of heat or plumbing problems. You need to have proof that you've previously complained about the issue and that your landlord has been remiss in his or her duty to rectify the situation. Take pictures, make sure your complaints or requests are in writing. You may need to call on this evidence if your landlord does take you to court over your broken lease. For more on your rights as a renter and landlord requirements, check out this detailed breakdown.
If you're still out of luck, make your landlord an offer:
If breaking your lease isn't looking promising, prepare to fork over some cash—but hopefully not as much as you think. Depending on your relationship with your landlord, you still might have a shot at negotiating a deal. You could offer your security deposit or a set sum that benefits your landlord and gets you out of paying rent for the next several months on a place you're not prepared to live in. You could also see if your landlord is open to a long-term payment plan that would allow you to cover the lost rent in smaller deposits.
Ultimately, when it comes to breaking a lease, you have to weigh your options and how much you're willing to risk and spend. As for the woman who found her dream home (ahem, this writer), she ended up making a deal with her landlord and forfeiting her security deposit plus a month's rent in order to resolve her old lease. It was a financial hit in the short-term but now that she's settled into her new place she has zero regrets.
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How to Save Money When Moving Into a New Apartment
Are you planning on moving to a new apartment?
Before you spend money like it's going out of style, consider these four ways to save. You can move with ease of mind—and have pennies to spare!
Be Frugal with Your Furnishings
'Nice enough' is all you needi1.wp.com
"Fancy" is overrated. You can create a charming and welcoming ambiance without racking up your credit card bills. Use your flair for style sensibly by seeking out sales or even going for the "minimalistic" look. Less can be more after all, particularly in a pint-sized apartment.
Another tip? Get thrifty. As Unpakt suggests, "Scour the local yard sales, consignment stores, and sites like Craigslist to score quality furniture for less." You may not be able to pass down the pieces to your grandkids one day, but those tables and chairs will do just fine for where you're at right now.
Mull Over the Movers
Check around to get the best ratesdes.az.gov
Moving all your stuff from Point A to Point B can be a challenge, and it's so easy to call in a moving company to do your dirty work. After all—they'll do everything from packing your things to trucking them to your new pad. Strong men will unload, and some will even unpack your fifty-pound boxes. Sound tempting? I understand, but movers don't come cheap. There are other, more affordable ways to move your items to your new place that don't involve writing a huge check.
Rent.com has a smarter solution: "Renting a truck or van and moving your furniture yourself may be a much cheaper alternative. Self-service rental truck companies such as U-Haul have locations all over the country and offer affordable rates for daily rentals of their equipment." Put your muscles to task and money to better use!
Efficiency is Essential
Along with rent, your monthly budget is sure to include electric and other utilities. Not only will being mindful of your daily routine be kinder to your wallet, but your eco-friendliness will also pay off in more ways than one. Shut the lights off when you're not home. Limit time in the shower. Do you really need to run the dishwasher every night? And why is the television on 24/7?
A few simple changes to the way you operate will start adding up to significant savings. Key Renter recommends, "You can invest in compact fluorescent light bulbs. These light bulbs are energy-efficient, and they last longer. You may also want to invest in a programmable thermostat." Two more ways to whittle down your spending.
Round Up a Roommate
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Now this plan won't work for everyone, but if you're single and seeking companionship (or at least someone to split the bills), hunting for a housemate can be a huge way to save. Even for a short-term arrangement, having a roomie can make the rent much more affordable. You may even be able to move into a larger or more glamorous apartment if you have a roommate to split the costs.
If you don't personally know anyone able (or willing) to move in with you, go online.
Smart Asset lists the 9 Best Roommate Finders on the Web, from Craigslist to Facebook and a bunch of others for matches all over the country. And don't forget to ask friends, family, and co-workers if they know of anyone who needs a place to live… and a new buddy, too!
Good luck with the move. Scratch "How can I save?" off your to-do list.
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Rents are skyrocketing, and incomes are not. One in five millennials are living in poverty, and are either stuck with parents, couch surfing, or on the street. And it's not for lack of effort. Even $15 an hour, in major cities like New York and San Francisco, is just enough on a single income to cover expenses and have maybe have some social life until the next check. God forbid an incident or major expense come up. Tack on having no or poor credit - it's hard to get credit with no credit, and we never learn about this sort of thing in school - and finding an apartment becomes quite the challenge. Add on a security deposit and you see why many young folk are crashing couches or wherever they can. You work hard, you deserve a nice place to rest your head. Here's 3 hacks to rent a nice place with poor credit and no security deposit.