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Breaking a Lease

My lease (an apartment here in south Florida) is up at the end of May, 2005. However, it looks as though I'm moving back to Pennsylvania as early as October or November of this year.

What advice does anyone have for getting out of the lease as quickly and painlessly ($$$) as possible? Finding someone else to pick up the remainder of the lease (or subletting) is not an option. I've never been late in paying rent for the 3 1/2 years I've lived here, and they have $1000 in security and pet deposits that they can keep. To those suggesting I suck up the 2 month penalty charge, well, that's $1800 and a lot of money I'd rather just avoid having to pay if possible.

I'm on friendly, polite terms with the woman who runs the leasing office, but I am not sure I can go in and say "hey, is it OK if I give you two month's notice right now and leave? I fell in love and need to be with the woman who will be my wife some day…" I've heard that there are lawyers that take a month's rent to get you out of your lease, but I haven't found any through Google searches.

So, what to do? If you've got a suggestion, by all means, let me know.

Early Termination Option. You may elect to terminate your lease prior to the expiration date, without defaulting on the lease, by notifying us at least 60 days prior to the date you intend to vacate your apartment and including with such notice an early termination fee. The early termination fee will be equal to the sum of the following: (A) advance payment of the rent due for the 60 day or greater notice period; (B) the greater of (1) the short term premium rent that would have been charged during the actual period of your occupancy as determined by us based on our short term rent schedule or (2) one month rent; (C) sales tax and other taxes if applicable; (D) reimbursement for any concessions we gave you; and (E) your security deposit. If you elect the Early Termination Option you are agreeing with us that the foregoing payments are reasonably liquidated damages and not a penalty and that the exact calculation of damages would be difficult. The election of the Early Termination Option and the timely vacation of the apartment will relieve you from any additional obligations to pay rent after the termination date. You must, however, comply with all other terms and conditions of this lease and you will remain liable if you do not so comply. If you terminate your lease prior to the Ending Date without electing the Early Termination Option it will constitute a default.

That's what the lease agreement says.

21 Responses to "Breaking a Lease"

  1. Go in to the leasing office and explain your situation. I new I was going to buy a house this year so before I signed my lease I got a lease cancellation rider. That let me out of the lease with 30 days notice and a penalty equivalent to 1 months rent. But my leasing company also has a "standard" (but not written into the lease) policy of letting you terminate for a fee of two months rent. If you've got to break your lease, it is cheaper than having to buy out the whole lease.

    Maybe the have some similar policy...

  2. Yeah, the penalty equivalent to one months rent is most likely what you're going to end up having to pay to get out of it.

  3. I broke my lease a few years ago when I bought my condo. They didn't give me any trouble, but I had to pay 1 month's rent.

  4. I added in the appropriate section of my lease.

  5. I would go into the leasing office and talking with the woman who runs it. Explain your situation, that you are probably going to move. See what the woman suggests you do, she might help you get out as pain free as possible.

  6. Don't lawyer-up unless you absolutely have to. Go see the leasing lady and explain your situation. Heck, even include the bit about how it's all about love and a girl up north. Letting someone out of a lease is not as uncommon as you might think. What's important is that you treat the building owners fairly and honestly. It won't guarantee you a satisfactory result, but the odds are far better than taking the legal route.

    You know the old saying about attracting more flies with honey than vinegar,,,

  7. I just signed a lease with the same text - you don't live in an Archstone-owned property, do you?

    In speaking with my leasing agent on the same topic, she said that in her experience it was totally inflexible - you pay to play. There was no 'explaining the situation'. This is the downside to large property management companies who see you as "tenant #12324" as opposed to "Erik in 401B".

  8. because s. fl is so transient, the apt. rental system blows. people leave overnight all the time. so mgmt. co's (to cover their ass), really penalize those who have legit reasons to move early. a friend wants to move to ca. to be w/family. they want 60 day notice, sec. deposit, and 2 months rent. $2550.00 if you can get out with only one months rent, that would be cool. i've been month to month for the last five years, so when it's time to go, i'm not out anything. good luck erik.

  9. A good friend of mine had the same problem when moving from Florida (WPB) to California. What ever arrangement you get from the leasing office, be sure to get it in writing. She made a verbal agreement for a one-month penalty and then, after she was out here, they proceeded to sue her for six months rent when they couldn't rent the unit. The letter of her lease was that she was liable for the rent until they found someone else to rent the apartment to, and while they were obligated to make a 'good-faith effort' to rent her apartment it was a large complex and naturally they'd rent every other apartment first because they would get paid eitehr way if hers was vacant.

    Basically, it all depends on your leasing office. It's too bad that finding someone else to take over your lease isn't an option, because it's truly the best way to go.

  10. If I'm reading your terms correctly, you're responsible for 60 days' notice and the greater of one month's rent or their short-term rates as a penalty. If you want to move in October, give notice now and that covers your 60 days. Then you're just on the hook for the other part, and it's possible that by letting them know now, they might be flexible with that. You'd be giving them two months to fill the apartment, after all.

    Also, if you can consider moving earlier, you might want to let them know that you're flexible. That way they can potentially find someone to move in in, say, mid-September, rather than being constrained by your schedule. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to be nice to you in return.

  11. I went in and talked to the management property manager. She said: sixty days notice, make normal rent payments on those dates and pay $1025 (one month rent plus a prorated refund of the concessions they'd made to me in my last renewal), payable when I vacate.

    That seems to contradict what's said in the text above, so I asked to get it in writing and I'll stop in to see her later this week. She acted as if it was rather standard, so, that was comforting.

    Thanks to all for the comments. I started to get paranoid when I read the lease agreement, thinking they'd soak me - up front no less - for anywhere from $5000 and up! Thanks.

  12. Make lots of noise at 3am. Get yourself evicted.

  13. Have you seen the Sun Sentinel today (8/24/04)? Is it a Equity Residential Properties Trust property...?

  14. I rent this house in July 01,2004, but I want to breack the LEASE on October 01,2004 because my job is in another city, and I drive almost 1 and half to work and coming back at night.

    My question is: I want to move close where I work. What Letter should I make to my Landlord?

    Thank you


  15. right now i am married and my husband and i are about to go through a divorce. we signed a lease with the purchase to buy. we ahve not moved in the townhouse and i called the lady and explained her my situation of course they don't care at all. she told me that if i payed her the two years of the contract that we had she would find someone else or pay the rent while she lives there. i think there is some way to get out of it please help

  16. My granddaughter leased an apartment when she was 19 - is that legal age or should she have been 21 to be liable for the entire lease?

  17. I extended my lease on my apartment in October for 90 days which expires at the end of this month, so I gave them a 30 day notice yesterday and they said it says in my contract that I am supposed to give a 60 day notice or pay a full months rent penalty. The company I am working at is closing at the end of december and I am moving 100 miles north and do not want to stay an extra month while I am out of work or pay leave and have to pay double rent for January. Help!

  18. My name is Wendy and I am a single mom with a 12 year old son. I have been separated from my husband for almost 4 years and left my home with my son. I work and support him mostly myself. A year ago, I met a man and we have been seeing each other and just recently became intimate. I have had 2 surgeries to remove cancerous tumors from my uterus and was told I would most likely never be able to have any more children. Well, I now find myself pregnant and unable to afford the aparment that I now lease. Please, is there anything I can do, without paying any money. A friend has said I can move in, but my lease isn't up until April. I really can't afford to stay here. Can anyone help?
    Thank you
    Wendy Reid

  19. I lived in my apartment for six and a half years.I recently
    had to move back to europe for family reasons at short notice. Instead of discussing it with my landlord I just left with 18 months left on my lease. At the time I didn't think it was a big deal, now I'm informed it will be on my
    credit history for years. I was considering moving back to the US but now I realize I would have difficulty getting an apartment with this on my credit history. Is there any way around this when trying to apply for an apartment.

  20. Hello! My name is Erika and I need some help on how to break my lease without large penalty. My lease is up August 8th, and my boyfriend and I are closing on a home. Which means I will be out of the apartment May 1st/maybe sooner. The contract says I have to pay some ungodly 1800 dollar lease termination fee, and they also would keep my 563 deposit. Is there anyway to aviod this? I plan on giving them notice but I do not want to pay such a hefty fee. I am not just leaving and not saying anything. Its only three months early on an eleven month lease. What do I do? By the way I live in texas I dont know if anyone knows the rental laws here? Thanks

  21. what can i do i got an partment for 7 month contract someone has got in the apartmnt with a key we are only women living here and my 18 month old baby and we think this is very upset and also the state has called us from housing and we got another apartment for 4 bedrooms is just whaqt we needed, someone has tried breaking in to our apartmnt 4 times but they run away dont know what else to do im confused the lanlord told us we have to pay all them months rent and that we cant leave the apartments,dont know what else to do.