Skip to Content

What Should I Do If My Tenant Breaks Their Lease?

Frustrated rental property tenants sitting on couch with cardboard boxes
Did you know lots of tenants who rent single-family homes select long-term leases? But it is true, life can certainly be unpredictable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always excellent to have a plan in place, just in case.

The typical reasons for breaking a lease include job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s relevant to handle the situation competently and aptly follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s weighty to be mindful that it’s a legally binding agreement. Hence, you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to see to it that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. To cite an instance, in many states, landlords are responsible for making it a point that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant prior to entering the property.

Failing to respect landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in certain 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 a favorable practice for any landlord, while it is not usually required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. In many situations, this includes requiring a certain amount of advance notice, typically 30 days, and as the case may be, paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or conflicts if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents gives your tenant a way out, if needed, and vouches that you do not cope with financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

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

It’s a brilliant idea to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they move out. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be held liable 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 relevant to keep an exhaustive documentation of everything.

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

If you’re in 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 entails filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is so important for you to show to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the steps you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One best approach to totally ensure that your rental business is dealt with in a professional and legally compliant manner is by employing the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you efficiently navigate the complexities of property management and make sure that your rental property is managed excellently and transparently.

At Real Property Management Sterling, we masterfully work on your behalf in Burlington and nearby to develop favorable tenant relations and address problems brought about by unforeseen changes. Contact us online or call us at 802-861-6468 to learn more about this and our other quality services.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

The Neighborly Done Right Promise

The Neighborly Done Right Promise ® delivered by Real Property Management, a proud Neighborly company

When it comes to finding the right property manager for your investment property, you want to know that they stand behind their work and get the job done right – the first time. At Real Property Management we have the expertise, technology, and systems to manage your property the right way. We work hard to optimize your return on investment while preserving your asset and giving you peace of mind. Our highly trained and skilled team works hard so you can be sure your property's management will be Done Right.

Canada excluded. Services performed by independently owned and operated franchises.

See Full Details