Breaking an Apartment Lease - How to Break a Lease Legally

Breaking an apartment lease can be quick and painless... if you know the right steps. Learn how to break a lease legally with our step by step guide.

RELATED: How to Break a Fixed Term Lease Agreement

How to Break a Month to Month Lease

Scenario 1: Both Landlord and Tenant Agree to End the Lease Agreement

With mutual consent between the landlord and tenant, breaking a lease agreement is going to be really simple. This is what we call surrender of tenancy.

A surrender of tenancy can be done without paperwork - All the tenant has to do it is to remove his or her belongings from the rental property and the landlord can begin looking for new tenants.

There is no waiting period before the move-out date as long as both parties are okay with it. However, we still recommend that you use a early lease termination agreement to formally end your lease in writing to avoid any possible disputes.

Scenario 2: Only One Party (Landlord or Tenant) Wants to End the Lease

Breaking an apartment lease legally for a month to month generally involves one party giving the other a written notice to quit in advance. This is required by law in most areas so that the landlord has enough time to find a new tenant (while the tenant has sufficient time to look for a new place as well).

According to the landlord tenant laws in most areas, you will have to give the other party a written notice 30 days to 60 days in advance. Certain types of tenants such as government-subsidized or elderly ones may have to be informed even earlier in advance.

In case you have a year to year tenancy, you may have to notify the other party up to 6 months in advance when breaking apartment leases. In some areas, a year to year tenancy is viewed as a fixed term lease which means you can't end it early unless both parties are agreeable.

How to Break a Verbal Lease Legally

Some lease agreements are more informal and there is no written contract in place. This type of rental arrangement is known as a verbal lease or tenancy at will. It is more popular with landlords who are renting their property to family or those looking for a temporary short term lease.

The terms for breaking an apartment lease that is verbal in nature are dictated by the local landlord tenant laws.

In most cases, you have to inform the other party that you are breaking the lease 30 days in advance. You can either inform them verbally or give them a written notice to quit. In some areas, there are no restrictions for verbal leases and you can choose to back out anytime.

Breaking a Lease

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