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How to break your lease is something as a retired property manager I get asked a lot. People need to move for whatever reason and they have no idea what their rights are in terms on leaving a property before the lease term is up. So with that in mind this post was born.
To be clear, this post is not about how you can dodge your responsibilities when it comes to a lease, it’s about how to go about doing the right thing if you need to break your lease. Extenuating circumstances and all that. So with that out the way, let’s get started.
The sooner you let your agent know of your intention to terminate the lease the better. If your circumstances warrant it, you could request that the owner considers releasing you from your lease. This happens sometimes, with super nice people or super bad circumstances. Don’t be surprised if the response is no.
If you open the channels of communication this entire process goes smoother. But remember, property managers are busy people, try not to take up too much time pouring your heart out to them. I recommend sending an email to the main account (use a read receipt) so you have a paper trail of the communication between you and the agent (owner) should you ever be required to prove those conversations happen.
You will need to complete a few forms relating to terminating your lease. Some relating to giving the agent or owner to advertise the property for rent. Some for notifying the dates you wish to vacate. And there are still the usual exit forms and paperwork to complete. For a full list of forms and your requirements to notify, head over to the RTA site (or search for your relevant local authority) for a list and fact sheets on how to break your lease (terminate your tenancy).
Do everything you can to support the letting of the property. Make sure it is clean and tidy and make the property available to view whenever you can. A good agent will take applications for the property from anyone suitable, so it can be worth promoting the property for rent on your own channels or via a newspaper ad. Take the enquiries yourself and let the people know you will pass them on to the agent or owner for consideration.
If you are not in a position to continue your lease for hardship or other reasons, you can apply to small claims court to have your lease terminated. There is a small fee involved to do this, but a judge can terminate the agreement then and there giving you the freedom to move on. Keep in mind that you may forfeit a part (if not all) of your bond, have to contribute some other fees and still uphold your half of the bargain in terms of cleaning at vacate.
Seeking advice on how to break your lease that is relevant to your circumstances? This can be important as things change state to state, country to country. Contact your local Tenancy Advisory service or contact the Residential Tenancies Authority to get their advice.
Melissa is the Leave Home Blog Boss. She is living the high life in her hometown, didn’t finish her marketing degree & drinks too much on a Thursday night. Blogging since 2009, Melissa decided to put everything she knows into making The Leave Home Blog a light & easy how-to guide for being a grown up.