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Giving up on a lease? Find out how to rent a place in a responsible way to get the best results.

What you will find out:

Look over your home’s lease.
Talk to your property owner.
Other Ways to Get Out of a Lease
Get back your security deposit

You sign a lease with the intention of following all of its rules, but then something comes up and you have to break the deal. Or, you may want to end your lease because something is wrong with the rental property itself. No matter what the reason is, the best way to handle the problem is in a responsible way.

Look over your home’s lease.

You may have just skimmed your residential lease agreement before signing it, like many other renters, because you were eager to move into your new place. Line by line, read the lease again. It may list reasons you can get out of the lease without paying a fee, such as:

If you work for the military or government and need to move because of your job, federal and state laws tell you how to do it.
A job-related move for any company. Only a few states have rules that cover this reason in rental lease agreements.
Again, only a few states have rules that cover this reason in home lease deals.

If your lease does not give you any of these ways to get out of it without paying a fee, but your case fits one of the above, you may have choices that are not in the deal.

Talk to your property owner.

If your rental lease deal or state law lets you get out of your lease without paying a fee because of your situation, you will need to tell your landlord in writing and give the minimum amount of notice. Make sure you have a written understanding from your landlord that you can end your lease.

Even if your lease or state law does not cover a certain case, your owner may still agree to end your lease if you were a good renter and it will not be hard to rent the property after you leave. Also, rents in your area may have gone up a lot, and your owner may see your moving as a way to fix the market. Again, write down what is going on and get anything you and your owner agree to in writing.

Other Ways to Get Out of a Lease

If you want to end your residential lease agreement because of something about the renting property or your owner, you may also be able to do so without paying a fee. Some of these reasons are:

Major damage to the property that was not your fault, like a fire that was not your fault or a natural accident.
A place that is unhealthy or dangerous, like one with mold or door locks that have not been fixed.
Interfering with your right to “quiet enjoyment,” such as when your owner keeps breaking the rules about your privacy,

State to state, there are different rules about how to get out of a lease without paying a penalty for the above reasons, as well as how to ask your owner to do something and give notice that you are moving out.

Get back your security deposit

The terms for getting your security deposit back are written in your rental lease deal. If you properly end your lease, give the necessary notice, and leave the property in the agreed-upon condition at the agreed-upon time, you should get your security deposit back in the time period stated in the lease agreement.

You can also do the following to make sure you get your full return as soon as possible:

Check the renter’s checklist you signed before you moved in and make any fixes or do any cleaning jobs that the lease says you need to do.
Take pictures of how the place looks.
Walk through the house with your owner one last time.
Ask your owner to sign your copy of the paper or give you some other signed proof of the property’s state.
Give your owner the address where your security deposit should be sent.

Whether you are the owner of the property or the tenant-turned-landlord, you will have the best chance of a successful rental if you fully understand the terms and conditions of the lease and sublease agreements as well as the state laws that guide the practice.

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