Apartment Lease Early Termination Cost Guide

Most lease agreements include early termination fees that offer some protection to the landlord. If you’re planning to terminate your lease agreement early, it’s crucial to find out the apartment lease early termination fee you’ll have to pay. Moving out of your apartment without paying the stipulated fee might land you a lawsuit. 

Other charges may be applicable to the lease cancellation along with the early termination fee. You must know the specific details about the fee and discuss arrangements with the apartment landlord. This article serves as an exposé to the charges involved in apartment lease early termination.

Reasons for Early Termination of An Apartment

In some cases, you can break a lease early without incurring penalties, even though most are not legal grounds. 

1. Military Relocation

Military and Public Health Service employees can terminate their leases if called to active duty or if their orders require them to travel widely. A notice must be provided to the landlord 30 days after the subsequent rent payment date. 

2. Domestic and Physical Abuse

Landlord-tenant rules in some places permit victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking, or illegal harassment to break a contract and leave if necessary. Consult your state’s laws to know if this justification is applicable. 

3. Loss of Job

In a situation of unemployment, it makes no sense for a tenant to continue living in an apartment if the rent isn’t covered. It takes less time, effort, and money to break the lease than to pursue an eviction or be involved in debt.

4. Divorce/Illness

Similar to losing a job, these events can have a significant negative financial impact on individuals. Tenants can decide to move out in this situation, making it easy for everyone involved. For instance, rental payments may become a big dispute if a couple decides to divorce. 

5. Unlivable

If the apartment becomes unlivable, you can terminate the lease agreement. In cases where there are no functional plumbing, electrical, and gas systems, running sinks, showers, and toilets, it’s ideal to terminate your apartment lease. You may legally break the lease and vacate the property without paying for damages. 

6. Intrusiveness

If the property’s owner enjoys entering the building at strange hours without notice, you can terminate your lease agreement for infringement of privacy. However, it is advisable to give a written warning before terminating the lease agreement. 

Apartment Lease Early Termination Fee

Early lease termination often entails a significant financial loss. As a result, most landlords impose flat rates on tenants as lease breakage costs. Some landlords may even demand payment from you while they search for a new tenant.

To this end, you must understand the following payment formats:

1. Flat fees

A clause in the lease usually specifies how much you’ll need to pay if you break the lease. “Flat fee” is the amount in question. The flat fee is a one-time fixed sum you must pay if you break your lease early. It is always available in three formats.

Early termination charge

A termination fee is usually in the range of two to four months’ worth of rent. The leasing agreement will typically specify the number of months. If your monthly rent is $1,200 and the early termination fee is three months’ rent, you’ll have to pay $3,600.

Amount of owed rent

Some leases require you to pay the rent in whole rather than having you pay the comparable rent for a predetermined number of months. For instance, if you still have five months remaining and your rent is $1,200 monthly, you’ll need to pay $6,000.

Addition of remaining rent and security deposit

Landlords seeking to discourage early lease terminations will charge you the balance of your security deposit and the remaining rent.

Breaking a lease almost always entails financial loss regardless of the price schedule. However, you could have to pay additional fees in addition to the early termination fees. 

2. Additional Costs

You may also be responsible for other expenses besides the early termination fee. These expenses comprise:

  • Rent that is past due
  • Cost of unit damage
  • Cleaning expenses
  • The expenses involved in seeking a new tenant

3. Pay until a new tenant is found

The payment schedules that require you to keep paying will sometimes vary from time to time. Tenants will have to pay under this lease agreement for as long as the rental unit is vacant (or until your lease expires). This may range from a month to a full year.

If your monthly rent is $1,200, your agreement requires you to pay until you find a new tenant. If it takes four months to get a replacement, you will have to pay $4,800.

However, you’ll pay less if you carefully search for a new tenant with your landlord, and they move in soon enough.

red and blue love neon light signage showing space for rent
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Conclusion

When tenants voluntarily terminate their lease before the lease’s expiration date, they might incur some fees. The landlord may collect these fees directly or use an agent. The lease agreement usually determines the fee a tenant will be liable to pay. 

We hope this article has helped you understand the apartment lease early termination fee applicable to you. 

Apartment Lease Early Termination Cost Guide

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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