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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 tenants who rent single-family homes pick out long-term leases? Even so, be mindful that life can be unstable and unpredictable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always beneficial to have a plan in place, just in case.

The typical reasons for breaking a lease cover job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s principally important to handle the situation well and aptly follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s pertinent to remember that it’s a legally binding agreement. This actually means you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to warrant that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. Take for example, in a lot of states, landlords are responsible for making certain that the rental property is in good condition and must always give advance notice to the tenant before entering the property.

Failing to conform to landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in most 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 best practice for any landlord, while it is not really required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. In most circumstances, this includes putting forward a certain amount of advance notice, usually 30 days, and certainly paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or arguments if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents easily provides your tenant a way out, if needed, and provides assurance that you do not face financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

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

It’s a pretty good idea to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they leave the house. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be blameworthy and accountable 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 salient to keep intensive documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder telling them their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t fulfill them. It’s preferable to send this notice by certified mail to bring on a paper trail of your actions.

If you encounter 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 could entail filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is critical for you to explicitly show to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the strategies you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One effective way to make certain that your rental business is undertaken in a professional and legally compliant manner is by obtaining the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you effectively navigate the complexities of property management and always make sure that your rental property is managed properly and transparently.

At Real Property Management Prime, we skillfully work on your behalf in Ellicott City and nearby to establish favorable tenant relations and deal with unpredicted changes. Contact us online or call us at 410-415-1736 to glean more as regards this and our other quality services.

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