You might have a well thought out plan for your life, but you can never be certain about how life will unfold. When signing a lease, you may end up torn between wanting long-term stability and having to sign a short-term lease because of your job. So, how to break a lease in NYC without any consequences.
Naturally your first question will probably be what happens if you have to break the lease early and move out. You definitely don’t want to face penalties such as a lower credit score or a blemish on your rental history because of it.
How Does a Lease Work?
A lease is a signed agreement between a tenant and a landlord that outlines all the terms and conditions related to renting financial district apartments. Since the agreement is prepared by the landlord, any breach in the lease terms is likely to favor him or her, not the tenant.
It also stands to reason that the agreement will subject the tenant who breaks the lease to some type of penalty. Therefore, it is less likely that the tenant will request to leave before the lease term ends.
What Happens If You Break A Lease?
If you have to break your lease, the best case scenario could be that your landlord asks you to stay on the property until he or she finds a new tenant. However, since that may not be the case, you should also know the possible consequences.
When you sign a lease, you agree to pay a certain amount in rent for a set period of occupancy. Breaking a lease breaks that agreement. At best, the penalty could be equal to one or two month’s rent; at worst you might have to pay out the value of the rent for the remaining period of the lease. Additionally, you would forfeit your security deposit.
Lawsuits are not very common when leases are broken but they are possible. If you have no other option but to end a lease early and your landlord is litigious, there’s a chance you might end up in court. One way to avoid a lawsuit is if you keep paying the rent whether or not you live on the property.
Your credit score is your lifeline when it comes to borrowing money. From buying cars to getting a house, you need a good credit score to qualify for large purchases that require loans. If you stop paying rent for the remaining term of the lease you will most likely have the unpaid amount reported to a collections agency, which shows up as an adverse event on your credit report. Simply put, unpaid debts negatively impact your credit health.
Finding a tenant is an exhausting and overwhelming task. Therefore, landlords often look for tenants who don’t have a history of breaking their leases. Landlords tend to grow more cautious about renting to you if they find out you have previous issues with breaking leases. Most landlords reach out to former landlords during the tenant screening process, and it would be hard to hide the fact that you left before your lease was officially over.
If you’ve had to break your lease for whatever reason, be direct and honest with your future landlord about what happened and why. The upside is if you had good reasons for leaving the property before the end of your lease and left the property on good terms with the landlord, the fact that you had to leave early may not hurt your future rental plans.
Break a Lease the Right Way
Taking the right steps to break a lease can make it more acceptable to a landlord.
Talk to a real estate attorney and discuss the legal implications of breaking your lease. A lawyer can guide you through the potential legal pitfalls you face as a result.
Figure out the reasons why you have to break the lease. Federal law allows military and government personnel who are required to move due to job relocation, which may require that the tenant break the lease. Some states also allow tenants to break their lease for health reasons.
Have a legitimate excuse for wanting to break your lease. If you are breaking it because your landlord doesn’t properly maintain the property or is not responding to your multiple requests for repairs, there’s a chance you can break the lease with minimal or no penalty.
Notify your landlord of your plans to vacate the property at least 30 days in advance. Include your name, the last day you will occupy the property, and the dates of your original lease terms. Provide a reason for breaking the lease.
If your landlord doesn’t contest you breaking your lease, be sure to get a written acknowledgment from them saying you won’t be subject to penalty for breaking the lease agreement.
The Bottom Line
Don’t ever consider breaking a lease without first thoroughly reading the lease. If a situation arises in which you must move before your lease ends, consider offering to pay the landlord at least two month’s rent or the rent for the entire remaining period. Or you can offer your assistance in finding a new tenant.
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