How to Break a Lease Without Damaging Your Credit

A lease is a legally binding contract between the renter and the property owner.

A lease is a legally binding contract between the renter and the property owner.

When you sign a lease, you are legally required to pay the rent on the property each month until the contract expires. Occasionally you may need to break a lease early due to reasons such as finding a new job in another city, buying a house or being very unsatisfied with the property. Regardless of your grounds for breaking a lease, your landlord can take you to court and sue you for the amount of money remaining in your rental agreement. This can cause your credit score to drop and make it very difficult to find another property to rent.

Step 1

Review your lease to determine if your landlord has violated the terms of the contract. If you're planning to move because he has failed to keep up his part of the rental agreement, you may have a legal right to break the lease. For example, if your heater breaks in January and your landlord fails to fix it for a month, he has made your property unlivable.

Step 2

Explain your reasoning for wanting to move out of the property to your landlord. He might be willing to negotiate the terms of your lease with you. Suggest options such as allowing him to keep your security deposit, offering to pay rent until he can find a new tenant or agreeing upon a specific sum of money to pay him to get out of the contract without damaging your credit.

Step 3

Find a new tenant to sublet your property if the terms of your lease allow it. This person would live in your apartment until your lease ends, either paying the rent to you or directly to you landlord, depending on the method you agree upon. Your landlord would still get his rent money and it would relieve you of the financial responsibility of paying the rent on the property.

Step 4

Find a new tenant to take over your lease. This new tenant would start a brand new lease with the landlord, with no additional responsibility on your part. By finding this new tenant on your own, you're saving your landlord money in advertising fees and time since he won't have to show the apartment himself.

About the Author

Laura Jerpi has been working in marketing since 2007. She is an interactive copywriter who writes for Thought Leadership Publications, Ai InSite and South Source. Jerpi holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Business Administration from Robert Morris University.

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