The tricky thing about life is that it doesn’t always line up with our schedule. Perhaps you find yourself in a situation where you have to move before your lease is up. Breaking a lease is complicated, potentially expensive, and best avoided at all cost. However, when you have no choice, and your to-do list suddenly includes “someone must take over apartment lease,” here are your next three steps.
Take Over Apartment Lease – How to Quickly Find Your Replacement Renter
Perhaps “Plan A” was to coordinate your moving date with the end of your lease. Perhaps an unexpected life event occurred like an out-of-state job offer or the end of a relationship. Now your facing “Plan B.” You might be wondering where to even begin.
Step 1 – Understand your options.
Spend some time reading over your lease agreement. It will include vital information about what’s expected of you and your landlord if a lease break occurs. In many states, you may be required to help find a replacement renter, but that’s not always the case.
Meanwhile, start putting away money in savings. If you break your leasing agreement, you’ll likely pay the amount of your rent for every month until another renter can be found.
One caveat to this is if you had to move out due to your landlord not following through with his commitment in the contract.
For example, maybe you’ve discovered mold. It’s a direct result of a leaky appliance your landlord promised to replace. If the agreement to fix this appliance was in writing, you could have just cause for breaking your lease early.
Step 2 – Inform your landlord as soon as possible.
The benefits of informing your landlord of your plans sooner rather than later outweigh the drawbacks. They are as follows:
- Being proactive, polite, and honest about your plans to leave will help greatly, especially if you discover there is room for negotiation on your break lease.
- As I mentioned early, you may legally be required to help your landlord find a replacement renter. Therefore, the sooner you bring it to his or her attention, the sooner you can both begin your search. The sooner you begin searching, the less you’ll have to pay in rent down the road.
- Depending on the terms in your lease agreement, you may have the option of a termination agreement with your landlord. That would basically allow you to pay a one-time fee for breaking your lease early without the extra work of finding a subletter or new tenant.
Step 3 – Find someone to take over your apartment lease.
If no termination agreement can be reached and you have no other choice but to find your replacement, try these options:
- Notice boards – One common place for soliciting new apartment tenants is on notice boards located at grocery stores, laundromats, or within the apartment complex, itself.
- Craigslist – Another option is to list the information on Craigslist. Be careful about how much personal information you share online and about meeting any potential renters alone.
- Local newspaper – Before there was Craigslist, there was the newspaper. The exposure your request receives, the quicker you’ll find someone.
- Social media – Again, be cautious about your personal information, but word of mouth can be a great asset when you’re searching for someone to take over your apartment lease in a hurry.
- Hire a 3rd party to transfer the lease for you – There are companies who will market your apartment’s vacancy and transfer your lease for you. Always read the fine print, weigh the cost, and understand what you’ll still be responsible for when they’re finished.
When in doubt, try to protect your contract from a lease break. But if you absolutely cannot, use these steps as a guide through this time of transition.