The Lease Break=A Contract w/Muscle

Need to Break Your Lease??

Let's face it breaking a lease is not something you intend to do when you rent the apartment but things do come up, for example, you have a significant other that has turned your "charming" place into cramped, a baby is being born or you just landed a new job in Chicago making more $$$!! All good reasons, but in the meantime, you are tied into this lease agreement for it's term legally obligated to pay the entire rent for the entire length of the lease.

So, What do you do?

Now this is in no way legal advice, it is only advice based on my 12 years’ experience as a NYC real estate broker.

Tip #1 Decide whether or not you want out completely out or if your lease allows, you may be able to sublet, however subletting means you are still responsible for the remaining term of the lease, only you may be able to continue on with your plan B a lot quicker.

Tip#2 If you have decided to relinquish all of your responsibilities then you need to inform your landlord of your intentions immediately both verbally and in writing! A lot of times landlords may just allow you to walk away, with reasonable notice. Make sure you check out your lease for any specifics on how much advanced notice you are required to give, if any at all. Sometimes, if you are paying below market value for the apartment, they will let you out easier or if it is summer and there are alot more renters in the market a landlord may not be a stickler for details. Keep in mind though that a landlord is running a business and may let you out of your lease but it may not be "fees" free. Another way they can help you is by telling their real estate brokers and or management company about your lease break intentions whom can find suitable tenants for your apartment and this is usually at no cost to you. But remember to be extremely flexible on access for showing. Brokers tend to work crazy long hours to accomadate their working/busy clients and in this case can only be to your advantage. It's funny how that broker just went from obtrusive to welcomed!

Tip#3 You can always pay a finder’s fee to a realtor of your choice to help you find a place. This is good especially if the landlord doesn't use one or you don't like the one he uses. Technically, it is your apartment until you sign a surrender of lease.......This is part of the problem?

Tip#4 Place an ad on craigslist, however be careful, you will be letting strangers in your home! You will need to pre-screen potential renters before giving out your address etc.

Tip#5 Be flexible with your move in date. You can try to negotiate on that move in date but you really want to be able to meet the new renter's criteria. Know when to swallow your pride. For example, you have found someone that the landlord has accepted as suitable for your 5th floor walkup castle in the sky... Hallelujah! The only problem is they want to move in on the first and you need to leave by the 15th. You can split the cost or you can just eat it! Either way it is a small price to pay to be released from your lease and keep your credit and that or your guarantor's, if you used one, intact. It's defiantly better than gambling on how many fit people there are looking to move in to that "charming" one bedroom!

If you have any questions or comments you can feel free to drop a line below! Happy Renting!

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