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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 many tenants who rent single-family homes prefer and get long-term leases? Even so, life can be inconstant and unpredictable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always excellent to have a plan in place, just in case.

Basic reasons for breaking a lease constitute job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s crucial to handle the situation efficiently and follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s pertinent to consider that it’s a legally binding agreement. This simply means you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to check that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. For illustration, in many states, landlords are responsible for seeing to it that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant when entering the property.

Failing to adhere to landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in several 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, while it is true that it is not required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. In most circumstances, this includes rendering a certain amount of advance notice, usually 30 days, and in all likelihood 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 provides your tenant a way out if needed, and sees to it that you do not come across financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s beneficial to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be utterly frustrating when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation expertly and amiably is integral. In such cases, it’s appropriate to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s a pretty good idea to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they pull out. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be charged with 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 critical to keep exact documentation of everything.

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

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

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One excellent way to determine that your rental business is undertaken in a professional and legally compliant manner is by authorizing the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you navigate the complexities of property management and always make sure that your rental property is managed accurately and transparently.

At Real Property Management Hartford Metro/Greater New London, we work on your behalf in Groton and nearby to establish suitable tenant relations and properly deal with unanticipated changes. Contact us online or call us at 860-436-9955 to know more about this and our other quality services.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

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