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What Should I Do If My Tenant Breaks Their Lease?

Frustrated rental property tenants sitting on couch with cardboard boxes
Did you know that most tenants who rent single-family homes decide upon long-term leases? But as a matter of fact, life can be unsteady and unpredictable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always more fitting and beneficial for you to have a plan in place, just in case.

The most common reasons for breaking a lease are job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s integral to handle the situation cleverly and appropriately follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s critical to always remember that it’s a legally binding agreement. Know that you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to make sure that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. In particular, in a large number of states, landlords are responsible for seeing to it that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant before entering the property.

Failing to abide by landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in plenty of states. Other reasons include military service, domestic violence, or uninhabitable property.

Lease Termination Clause

Including an early lease termination clause in your lease documents is an advantageous practice for any landlord, even though it’s not actually required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. In most cases, this includes having a certain amount of advance notice, characteristically 30 days, and maybe paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or conflict if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents lends your tenant a way out if needed and certifies that you do not encounter financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s essential to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be terrible when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation proficiently and sociably is significant. In such cases, it’s best to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s an excellent way to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they leave. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be held at fault or responsible for and what you need to do to get the property ready for a new tenant. As with any tenant, you should calculate any unpaid rent and the cost of repairs and deduct them from their security deposit. It is substantial to keep broad documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder laying out their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t observe them. It’s preferred to send this notice by certified mail to bring on a paper trail of your actions.

If you experience a situation where your tenant is not paying the rent, you might have to go through a legal process to collect the owed rent and associated fees. This may entail filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is beneficial for you to certify to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the appropriate actions you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One effective way to make it a point that your rental business is managed in a professional and legally compliant manner is by procuring the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you navigate the complexities of property management and warrant that your rental property is managed aptly and transparently.

At Real Property Management Associates, we work on your behalf in Plymouth and nearby to establish more beneficial tenant relations and find a solution to unforeseen changes. Contact us online or call us at 508-509-4485 to grasp well more on the subject of this and our other quality services.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

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