If you’ve been renting an apartment for a while but are ready to move to a house, you may be worried about how you will tell your landlord that you’re leaving. Check out these tips to make the breakup go as smoothly as possible. Overall, it’s best to wait till your lease ends, as you’ve likely signed an agreement for a set period of time, usually a year.
That document is a contract binding you to pay rent to your landlord and occupy that space for an agreed-upon term. Going against the terms of your lease could involve fees and legal consequences.
Sometimes, the need to leave your apartment is out of your control, which means you may have to break the lease. In an ideal situation, your landlord would be sympathetic to your plight and won’t penalize you. But in the worst-case scenario, they can require you to pay, charge you fees and incur legal action.
You want to be as informed as possible for any outcome. First, find out what the legal and financial consequences are. Check with your lawyer and read over the fine print of the agreement. And keep in mind that breaking the terms of your lease could reflect negatively on your credit report, which is not a good thing if you’re in the process of buying a house.
Still, you can’t always choose when you need to move out. The end of your lease could be months away. If you still need to get out early, here’s how you can do it.
Know the Laws
Seek out and make sure you understand state laws in regards to your right to move out before your lease term ends. Some areas may allow you to move out without having to pay anymore rent IF the rental unit violates safety or health codes. Some may allow you to break a lease for emergency health issues or a sudden job relocation. Other times, you can break your lease if your landlord is boosting rent costs illegally, or if your landlord has violated your privacy rights.
Write a Letter
Of course, the best possible situation is if you have a good relationship with your landlord. If you feel confident and comfortable approaching them in person, do so. But even then, and especially if you don’t have a good relationship with your landlord, it’s always best to send a letter that explains your intent of leaving early. Here are some more tips:
- Warn your landlord of the leave as early as you can. This is common courtesy because it allows them sufficient time to find a replacement so they’re not without rental income for even a month.
- Put a date on the letter and save the notice. Make a copy too.
- Be honest, sincere and open in your wording. Let them down easy while explaining your reasons for leaving.
Make Concessions and Offers
It’s a good idea to soften the blow with some concessions on your part. You may offer to help them find a new tenant, either as a sublet to take over the lease or as a new renter who would sign a new lease. Or, you could offer to front the costs of any repairs to the unit, or perhaps cleaning and painting services.
Prepare Yourself Financially
Don’t assume that just because you’re moving out early that you don’t have to keep paying the rent. If a new renter can’t be found to replace those lost months, you may be forced to pay rent for those remaining months as well as forfeit your security deposit. Be prepared to pay up, so take stock of your finances and make sure you can afford to make this kind of move. If you’re moving into a house, you’ll have to consider all those costs as well, from the mortgage to the closing costs. Make sure you can handle it all before you decide to break your lease.
Keep written records of all communication, especially of the agreement that both parties have settled on. Save and print all email conversations, especially if you discuss terms and agreements. When you do this in person or on the phone, there is no record of these discussions, so always follow up with an email that confirms the details of the conversation.
In the end, breaking up with your landlord doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to be a negative experience. If you have a strong relationship to begin with, the process shouldn’t be too painful. But if your relationship is strained or do you don’t really know them at all, be prepared for a little tension and disagreement.
Overall, remember to be polite, respectful, honest and understanding when notifying your landlord of your impending move. Book your movers early and notify your landlord of that date so they can prepare the elevators and notify surrounding tenants of the disruption. This is a courtesy that will go a long way toward ensuring a good relationship between the two of you going forward. And if you can find a friend to take your place and alleviate the burden on your landlord, so much the better!
Contact Dependable Movers
Ready to move out of your apartment and into a house? Get in touch with us. We have the resources and skills to get you from one place to another, thanks to our advanced knowledge of the San Francisco area. Dependable Movers would be happy to supply you with a free quote when you contact us at 415-449-7471.