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What Should I Do If My Tenant Breaks Their Lease?

Frustrated rental property tenants sitting on couch with cardboard boxes Did you know that quite a lot of tenants who rent single-family homes pick out long-term leases? But even so, life can be very unpredictable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always ideal to have a plan in place, just in case.

Conventional reasons for breaking a lease include job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s salient to handle the situation properly and follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s pivotal to always remember that it’s a legally binding agreement. Anyhow, you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to always make sure that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. To cite an instance, in quite a lot of states, landlords are responsible for always making sure that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant preliminary to entering the property.

Failing to comply with landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in particular states. Other reasons include military service, domestic violence, or uninhabitable property.

Lease Termination Clause

Including an early lease termination clause in your lease documents is a beneficial practice for any landlord, though it is not really required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. As a rule, this includes granting a certain amount of advance notice, usually 30 days, and typically paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or disputes if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents gives your tenant a way out if needed, and establishes that you do not experience financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s beneficial to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be upsetting when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation expertly and peacefully is great. In such cases, it’s suggested to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s strongly recommended to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they exit. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be directly responsible for and what you need to do to get the property ready for a new tenant. As with any tenant, you should calculate any unpaid rent and the cost of repairs and deduct them from their security deposit. It is certainly important to keep clear documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder defining their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t observe them. It’s proper to send this notice by certified mail to set up a paper trail of your actions.

If you have a situation where your tenant is not paying the rent, you might have to go through a legal process to collect the owed rent and associated fees. This entails filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is vital for you to impart to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the actions you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One beneficial way to always make certain that your rental business is administered in a professional and legally compliant manner is by utilizing the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you navigate the complexities of property management and guarantee that your rental property is managed perfectly and transparently.

At Real Property Management Platinum, we expertly work on your behalf in River Park and nearby to develop the best tenant relations and tackle surprisingly unexpected changes. Contact us online or call us at 559-425-8550 to comprehend more when it comes to this and our other quality services.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

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