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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 lots of tenants who rent single-family homes mostly choose long-term leases? But it is a matter of fact that life can be changeable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always advisable to have a plan in place, just in case.

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

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s really vital to keep in mind that it’s a legally binding agreement. Take note, you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to nail down that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. By way of illustration, in most states, landlords are responsible for making certain that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant before entering the property.

Failing to properly comply with landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in a few 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 a matter of fact that it is not a requisite. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. In nearly all cases, this includes tendering a certain amount of advance notice, generally 30 days, and likely paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or trouble if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents imparts your tenant a way out if needed, and safeguards that you do not come upon financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s very important to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be quite dispiriting when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation capably and cordially is primal. In such cases, it’s recommended to extensively document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s a very good idea to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they go away. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be chargeable 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 complete documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder very clearly explaining their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t do them. It’s well-advised to send this notice by certified mail to provide a paper trail of your actions.

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

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One effective way to 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 navigate the complexities of property management and ascertain that your rental property is managed suitably and transparently.

At Real Property Management Pioneer, we work competently on your behalf in Little Elm and nearby to establish excellent tenant relations and professionally manage unforeseen changes. Contact us online or call us at 940-435-2526 to get more info about this and our other quality services.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

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