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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 almost all tenants who rent single-family homes settle on long-term leases? Except, life can be totally uncertain and unpredictable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always more suitable and quite advantageous to have a plan in place, just in case.

Typical reasons for breaking a lease include job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s pivotal to handle the situation well and follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s necessary to keep in mind that it’s a legally binding agreement. That being said, 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. Specifically, in almost all states, landlords are responsible for making sure that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant in advance of entering the property.

Failing to observe landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in numerous 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 acceptable practice for any landlord, despite the fact that it is not actually required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. Ordinarily, this includes conferring a certain amount of advance notice, largely 30 days, and probably paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or falling-out if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents grants your tenant a way out if needed, and assures that you do not experience 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 appalling when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation capably and courteously is basic. In such cases, it’s preferable to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s an advantageous plan of action to ask your tenants if you can inspect the property before they move away. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be held 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 critically important to keep detailed documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder narrating their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t settle them. It’s befitting to send this notice by certified mail to instigate a paper trail of your actions.

If you face 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 counts in filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is great for you to illustrate to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the processes you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One good means to completely make sure that your rental business is undertaken in a professional and legally compliant manner is by getting the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you navigate the complexities of property management and bear in mind that your rental property is managed completely and transparently.

At Real Property Management Colonial, we profitably work on your behalf in Salem and nearby to establish more excellent tenant relations and take care of the staggering, unexpected changes. Contact us online or call us at 540-595-7411 to discover more about this and our other quality services.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

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