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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 the majority of the tenants who rent single-family homes take long-term leases? Be that as it may, life can be unsettling, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always fine and advantageous to have a plan in place, just in case.

The most common reasons for breaking a lease entail job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s very important to handle the situation carefully well and follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s essential to know that it’s a legally binding agreement. With that said, you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to make certain that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. Such as, in all states, landlords are responsible for making certain that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant ahead of entering the property.

Failing to fulfill landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in many 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 effective practice for any landlord, despite that it is not totally required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. In general, this includes guaranteeing a certain amount of advance notice, generally 30 days, and possibly 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 endows your tenant a way out if needed, and assures that you do not get strapped with financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s pivotal to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be disconcerting when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation ably and favorably is pertinent. In such cases, it’s suitable to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s a good proposal to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they go. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be held liable 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 focal to keep a detailed documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder disclosing their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t settle them. It’s feasible to send this notice by certified mail to put in place a paper trail of your actions.

If you’re 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 entails filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is substantial for you to attest to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the actions you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One ideal way to always make certain that your rental business is undertaken in a professional and legally compliant manner is by choosing to employ the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you navigate the complexities of property management and choose that your rental property is managed sufficiently and transparently.

At Real Property Management West San Fernando Valley, we productively work on your behalf in North Hills and nearby to establish advantageous tenant relations and confront unusual and unexpected changes with you. Contact us online or call us at 818-727-0100 to learn more about this and our other quality services.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

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