How to Terminate a Rent to Own Agreement on Property

Renting to own helps you build equity and fix credit problems.

Renting to own helps you build equity and fix credit problems.

Rent-to-own property allows you to own your own home as you build equity and fix credit problems. Similar to renting a condo or apartment, you will have to sign a contract. However, unforeseen circumstances may arise causing you to terminate the agreement early. Approach the situation with the property manager delicately to avoid a more stressful situation.

Read the terms of your lease carefully. Most property owners require at least a 30-day notice to terminate the lease. The renter may also be required to pay a liquidated-damages fee, as set by the landlord in the contract. This can be costly.

Notify the property manager as soon as possible if you are considering breaking your contract. The sooner you inform them of the situation, the more likely they are to work with you. If you vacate the property without notice, the property manager could sue you for breach of contract. The judgment will likely appear on your credit history, making it harder for you to rent in the future.

Ask your landlord if he or she is OK with you subleasing the property to someone who can take over the remainder of your lease. Some property managers are open to this idea if you are upfront with them early on about your moving situation and you approach them in a friendly and professional manner.

Pay the early termination fee as defined by the lease agreement, return the keys and move out if you choose to not seek the guidance of an attorney and are not able to sublease the property.


  • Understand that if you rent-to-own and break your lease, you will also not get your option fee back. This is the fee you paid as part of the agreement to ultimately buy the property you were renting. You will also lose your security deposit.
  • Consider consulting with an attorney to review you lease agreement and situation if you feel the property manager is not willing to work with you and you believe the penalties associated with moving out early are unfair.
  • Some state laws allow early termination of lease agreements for tenants who must move because they are active military.
  • If you are moving because you believe the property has put your health in jeopardy, maintenance is ignored or the property is unsafe, you may want to seek legal advice if the property manager plans to penalize you.


  • Terminating your lease can cause a 50-point hit to your credit score.

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About the Author

Renae Nicole has experience in various media markets, including Charleston and Myrtle Beach, S.C., as well as Savannah, Ga. She has been writing professionally for more than 10 years, working as a radio disc jockey, reporter/anchor for several TV stations and newspaper reporter. Nicole graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in broadcast journalism.

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