Is it possible to get out of an apartment lease?

The future cannot be known. We don’t know what will happen next week, let alone a few months in the future. Everything can be planned and it can look great on paper but reality is that future frequently brings unexpected surprises; positive or negative. When you signed the apartment lease you planned to be in the apartment for at least one year (typical lease). You were confident that you’ll stay there until the lease ends so you planned accordingly. Well, things change…life changes.

Now, you are in the situation where you will have to move out but the signature on the lease still says you will be in the apartment until the lease ends. It is not a comfortable situation, trust me I have been there, but everything has a solution. Let’s take a look what can you do when you want to break the lease.


Current Apartment Lease

Read your lease very carefully again, especially the part which talks about breaking the lease. Every lease has an opt-out clause which explains the specifics if the lease can be broken, in what cases the lease can be broken or what are your responsibilities if you decide to opt-out.


Landlords are aware of the possibility that tenants will have to get out of the lease so they are prepared for it. The lease is there to give the landlord security that he will have someone in the apartment for specific period of time so he doesn’t have to spend time and money in searching for a tenant.


apartment lease

Your Landlord

After understanding the details about breaking the lease, go to your landlord or property manager and talk to him directly. Be honest, there’s nothing to hide or to sugar coat. Remember, you are not the first tenant who wants to get out of the apartment lease, and you definitely won’t be the last one either. Hopefully, you have a good relationship with your landlord who will not give you any difficulties and just let you pay the next month’s rent and leave. That’s the perfect situation. How likely is that it will happen? I’m not really sure; you will have to be lucky. More realistic scenario will be that your landlord will stand by the terms in the lease and say that you are responsible for the rent until the lease ends.


Apartment lease is a contract, you and your landlord signed it which means that you both agreed to terms and you both have obligations which you have to fulfill. Don’t panic, nothing is black and white in this world.


The easiest way to get out of your apartment lease is to find another person who is willing to rent your apartment. If you can find that person, your problem is solved. Landlord only cares about receiving rent every month, if he doesn’t have to spend money and his time in search of a tenant to replace you, he will let you go without any penalties or fees.


Contact you friends or advertise the apartment yourself (yes, you will have to do landlord’s job) to find someone who will rent the apartment. Actually, it doesn’t matter how you find that person, just find him/her. I bet there is always demand for apartment rentals in your area, so put your salesman hat on and find your replacement.


Of course, there is always an option to pay back the entire rent amount for the period of time stated in the lease but I’m pretty confident that’s exactly what you are trying to avoid. ?


Other ways how you can break the lease include:

  1. The apartment is unlivable (you will have to prove that);
  2. You have a serious medical condition (proof);
  3. Military (you receive a military order to move or active duty call);

These 3 options will result in automatic end in apartment lease without any penalties (in most cases). Again, read the lease before you sign it.


There is always a solution for every problem.

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