Legal Issues & Renting

How can I get out of a rental contract?

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How can I get out of a rental contract?

Rental leases are made to protect both landlords and tenants for the duration of the lease. But many times tenants want to get out of a rental contract early because of a change in life situation (marriage, birth of a child or divorce, to name a few) or need a change in location due to a job move.

Getting out of a rental contract early is not easy, and depending on how clean you want your rental history report to remain in the future, your strategy is imperative. Here are some tips:

1. Check the language of your contract. If it provides you with any information on how you can break a lease early, follow that language.

2. Negotiate with your landlord. Offer to help find a new renter (keep in mind costs you could accrue include advertising the space and time needed to show it to prospective renters) or to wave the security deposit you would have received at the end of your lease.

3. Sub rent the unit – if allowed per your lease. This technically doesn’t get you out of the contract, but allows you to maintain the lease until it expires without losing money.

4. Check your state’s rental laws. Landlords are required to keep a property’s maintenance up to date. If your landlord has fallen behind on maintenance, you may be able to argue the landlord has dropped his side of the bargain, allowing you to leave the apartment without penalty.

Always be aware that breaking a lease is breaking a contract, and if you plan to rent in the future, you may want to keep your history clean through your rental history report and your criminal record. Having a landlord evict you because you stop paying rent, or having a landlord take you to court in an attempt to get rent payments will not appear favorably to future landlords, as it will appear in your eviction and criminal history records.

To learn more about what appears on your rental history report, visit