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What Property Owners Need to Know if a Tenant Wants to Break a Lease

System - Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Property Management Blog

33% of Tampa households are renting, and if you're a landlord, you're going to be meeting some of them!

Hopefully, you have nothing but fantastic tenants, but sometimes things don't go to plan. Even the best tenant may want to break a lease at some point. 

But why would that happen? What should you do when it does? Let's talk about it.

Read on to learn all about what happens when a tenant breaks a lease.

Why Would a Tenant Want to Break a Lease? 

There are plenty of reasons a tenant may want to break a lease, and many of them are legitimate. Remember, life happens, and sometimes it's no longer going to be convenient to stay on your rental property.

It's possible that a tenant lost their job and they're no longer able to pay rent. In this case, it benefits both you and the tenant to have them leave. It's better than keeping a tenant who is unable to continue paying (though you can recommend a payment plan if you want to keep the tenant).

The tenant may have gone through a breakup with the other tenant. In this case, they may want to flee the apartment they share.

The tenant may have to move for work. This is common for travel nurses and people in the military, but it can happen to anyone. 

Can a Tenant Legally Break a Lease?

There is one situation in which a tenant can break a lease. If you haven't held up your end of a lease agreement, it's within their rental rights to leave.

Landlords must provide habitable housing. If your rental property is in such disrepair that it's no longer habitable or safe, the tenant can withhold rent or break the lease without penalty unless you fix it immediately. 

What Are Your Options?

There are several things that you can do when a tenant needs to break their lease. It's important to consider them before it actually happens so you can write your options into your lease.

Allowing a sublease can be a helpful solution. The tenant finds another tenant to ride out the rest of their lease so you don't have to find a new tenant and they don't have to be penalized.

Subleasers often sign on for a full lease term if they like the rental home, so this is advantageous for you. 

You could do a lease buyout. This means that you request the tenant pays two months of rental payments upfront. Then, they get to stay for the next two months as long as a move-out day is determined. 

You can also require that the tenant gives up their security deposit.

We recommend using your own discretion. In many cases, it's best for your reputation to be kind and understanding if your tenant needs to leave for a legitimate reason. 

Broken Leases Happen

While it's not common, you should expect that you'll have tenants who want to break a lease at some point. Even the best tenants find themselves in unexpected situations. 

Are you looking for help regarding leases, tenant placement, marketing, and more? Why not hire a property management company in Tampa, Florida? 

Get a free rental analysis so we can start working together today.