How to Get out of Your Apartment Lease
You got a new job somewhere else, your significant other broke up with you, or maybe your apartment is just falling apart – whatever it is, it’s time to leave your apartment. The only problem is that you have several months left on your lease. In this case, you’ll have to try to get out of your lease without too much trouble or expense. Use the following steps to get out of a lease at the lowest cost to you.
Part One of Four:
Reading Your Lease Edit
Look for an opt-out clause. Find your lease agreement and review it for an opt-out clause that specifies your rights and responsibilities in the event that you decide to break the lease. This agreement may specify a timeline for giving notice of your intent to leave the lease early and may also specify penalties in the form of fines and lost security deposits. 
- Look for the words “early release,” “sub-let,” or “re-let” when examining your lease. The exact language may vary between lease agreements. 
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Find a replacement renter, if necessary. Some rental agreements require that you find a replacement renter if you break your lease.  Others require that your landlord find a replacement renter after you give them notice of leaving the lease. In this case, you would have to pay for the intermediate months before they find a replacement for you, so plan ahead financially if this is the case. This information can be found in your lease agreement. 
Check to see that your landlord is meeting his or her obligations. In most cases, your lease will also specify the required duties of the landlord, including things like responding to complaints and repair requests. If your landlord is not fulfilling their end of the bargain, you may have grounds to break your lease and move out. However, this generally requires taking your landlord to court, which may be more trouble than it’s worth. 
- There may be additional landlord obligations not listed in your lease that can be found in your municipal regulations and state laws. Check these sources for more information.
Part Two of Four:
Talking to Your Landlord Edit
Talk to your landlord as soon as possible. Because many lease agreements require advance notice when you leave your lease, it’s best to communicate your intentions to your landlord as early as possible. In other words, let your landlord know as soon as you decide to go through with breaking your lease. This can give the landlord more time to prepare for your departure and may make them more likely to work with you towards an amenable resolution. 
Explain your situation. Before you do anything else, simply try to explain to your landlord what your situation is. It’s likely that they’ve had other tenants get out of leases before and are likely able to offer a few possible solutions. Hopefully, your landlord will be understanding, although there is no guarantee that they will be. This conversation is always easier if you’ve been a good tenant, doing things like paying your rent on time and not causing disturbances in the building. 
- Be as open as possible. The more your landlord knows, the more they will be able to help you. For example, be sure to tell them if you are unable to give the required amount of notice. 
Work with your landlord to find a replacement renter. In many states, both you and your landlord are required to work towards finding a replacement renter in the event that you leave your lease early. This replacement can be either a new renter or a sub-letter on your lease. In either case, be prepared to pay your rent for the months until you can find a replacement renter. 
- Finding a sub-letter means finding someone willing to take over payments on your current lease and live in your apartment. The lease, however, will still be in your name, so you are liable for payments being made and any damage done to the apartment by the sub-letter.
- Check with your Facebook friends to see if they know anyone looking for an apartment. This is the easiest way to get a sub-letter that you trust. 
Consider a termination agreement. If you are unable or unwilling to find a replacement renter, your lease or landlord may offer you the chance to simply pay your way out of the lease with a termination agreement. In many cases, this will involve paying several months rent after you move out and giving up your security deposit. However, you benefit from being immediately and completely out of your lease obligations.