How to Break a Lease to Find Other Apartments for Rent

apartments for rentAre you thinking of trying to break your lease so you can find other apartments for rent?  Maybe a new job has made it necessary to move, maybe you need to move to a larger or smaller apartment, or maybe you just can’t stand your neighbors or the management at your current apartment anymore.  Whatever your reason for wanting to get out of your lease, be careful how you proceed.  There are several ways to break a lease, but there is, more often than not, a penalty for breaking a lease.  If you’re still determined, however, there are a few things you should know.

Valid Reasons for Breaking Your Lease
Fortunately, there are a few legitimate reasons you can break your lease.  If your landlord fails to maintain the apartment to the level agreed upon in the lease, you are eligible to break your lease.  Likewise, if your apartment has incurred major or irreparable damage through no fault of your own, you may be able to break your lease.  Additionally, you might be able to break your lease if your landlord refuses to intervene on your behalf to help maintain your “quiet enjoyment” or the privacy of your apartment.  Any complaints and correspondence with the apartment’s management should be well-documented, as you may have to present them to back up your claims.

Unsuitable Reasons for Breaking Your Lease
As much as you would like find different apartments for rent and move out of your current apartment right away, you may not be in a position to break your lease at all.  Losing your job, for example, is not a legally valid reason to break your lease, even though it may be necessary to move to a less expensive apartment as soon as possible.  If you do lose your job and foresee having trouble paying your rent, try talking to your landlord.  If you have been a reliable, responsible tenant in the past, your landlord may be lenient and help you with your situation, whether that means allowing you to find a suitable replacement renter, or approving a subletter who can take your place until the terms of your lease are up.

Move-Out Procedure
Before you start searching for new apartments for rent right away, know that there is a procedure you must follow, even if you are able to get out of your lease.  You must give your landlord written notice of termination so that he or she can correct the situation before you are allowed to officially break the lease.

Use Your Resources
Do some research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and see if you can find something to help your situation.  It is also probably best to consult a lawyer if you foresee having any issues when trying to break your lease.  The suggestions in this article do not constitute legal advice, so seeking the help of a qualified attorney is the best route, especially because laws vary by location.  If you do finally break your lease, use resources like to search for apartments for rent, and be sure to read reviews so you can avoid getting into a bad renting situation again.