First, you will want to know what the Landlord Tenant laws of your state say about causes for, and consequences of, early termination of a residential lease. This step is important because, no matter what your lease says, if it conflicts with the Landlord Tenant laws of your state, the law governs the situation. You can find the Landlord Tenant law online through your state website, or websites like nolo.com. If you don't have a computer or need some help, go to your local public library and they should be able to help you.
Next, take a look at the lease or rental agreement you entered into with your landlord. It will probably have quite a bit of language that talks about termination of the lease and the consequences for breaking it. It might even mention "liquidated damages" should the tenant terminate the lease before the end of the lease period. A note about liquidated damages, these are the "damages" that a landlord will assert that they incurred as a result of the tenant moving out before the lease expires. Many states' Landlord Tenant laws flat out make this illegal and most courts frown on these clauses, especially if they are excessive. Most states only require the tenant to pay the landlord their ACTUAL expenses incurred as a result of the lease termination.
Why are you terminating the lease agreement early? This is important, because it will determine how much of your security deposit you may get back, and whether you, or the landlord, will owe any additional money. If your apartment has become uninhabitable because of a failure by the landlord, or property management company, you can move out and not only will you not be responsible for the landlord's cost in finding a new tenant, but you may be entitled to compensation from the landlord for your expenses in moving to your new house or apartment.
This is a drastic measure and can only be used for serious problems. The legal term is "constructive eviction." The types of problems that qualify are: lack of essential services (e.g. electricity, heat, water, sewer); total or partial destruction of the building; and toxic or other environmental hazards. Remember this is through no fault of you as a tenant. You must not be responsible for the damage or neglect. There might be other reasons for leaving early. If you are in the military, you should always have a military clause in your lease, but even if you don't, there is a fairly new law that will allow you to terminate your lease early if you are being transferred or deployed. Check with your military legal services attorneys. What if you just want to move?
Okay, it's doable, but be prepared to lose part of your last month's rent or security deposit. Under the Landlord Tenant Laws of most states, the landlord has a duty to "mitigate" damages from a tenant's early termination of the lease. What this means is that the landlord must actively try to lease apartments and as soon as they have a new tenant, then the old tenant is released from any responsibility for additional rent. You can help your cause if you bring an eligible tenant to your landlord. If the landlord doesn't give you part of your deposit or advance rents back, and he or she didn't try to rent the apartment, take them to small claims court to get your money. I would never advise anyone to terminate a lease early but if you must, then hopefully this information helped.
Read more: http://www.ehow.com/how_5024829_terminat...
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