How Much Does It Cost To Break A Lease?

If the tenants have plans to terminate the lease before the end of their term, they may be required to negotiate special conditions with the landlord to avoid being charged high fees.

How Much Does It Cost To Break A Lease

Are you thinking about moving but wondering how much it costs to break a lease? Renting has so many pros, but one of the cons is you don’t have the luxury of just ending your lease when you want.

Most rentals have a lease between the occupant (you) and the landlord. Usually, when ending a lease, you must notify the landlord a month in advance. Sometimes, you can negotiate special conditions to avoid paying high fees. 

Breaking a lease depends on you, the tenant, and the landlord’s kindness. Remember, kindness in these situations can go a long way.

In many cases, landlords are reasonable, and they know life happens. Some situations result in a lease terminating early, such as getting a new job, losing a job, buying a new home, or having financial reasons.

Continue reading for more information about breaking a lease and its potential costs.


The Potential Costs of Breaking a Lease

Breaking a lease early usually comes with a financial hit because breaking it means violating the terms of a legal agreement. 

Due to that, many landlords charge breakage fees at flat rates. In other scenarios, landlords may charge you until a new tenant is found. 

You must keep three payment structures in mind when breaking a lease.

Flat Fees

Most leases have a section that states the amount you will pay if you break a lease. This amount is called the “flat fee.” Simply put, the flat fee is the amount you must pay to end your lease agreement early. 

The fees may differ depending on the lease terms, but it’s always based on one of the payment structures below. 

  • Early termination fee: Early termination fees usually total two to four months' rent. The number of months should be stated in your lease agreement. For example, if your rent is $1,700 and the early termination clause states that the fee is two months’ rent, you’ll have to pay $3,400. Please keep in mind that some landlords may charge more than the rent.
  • Remaining rent: Instead of paying the amount for a couple of months’ rent, some leases state that you will have to pay rent for its entirety. That means that if your rent is $1,700 and you have four months left, you must pay $6,800.
  • Remaining rent and security deposit: Some landlords who discourage breaking leases early will charge you the remaining rent and your security deposit amount.

Regardless of the fat fees, a lot of the time, there are other fees you should consider. 

Other Fees

Even though you are paying an early termination fee, sometimes additional costs exist. These costs can include:

  • Late or back rent
  • Unit damage costs
  • Cleaning costs
  • Costs associated with finding a new tenant

To be sure what fees and additional costs you are expected to pay, read through your lease agreement before breaking so you know what you will have to pay. The costs are usually found in the “Early Termination Clause” section.


Payment Structures Until A New Tenant is Found

Another payment structure is paying until a new tenant is found. These types of payments are more uncertain because, for this lease agreement, you’ll have to pay for as long as the rental unit is empty or until your lease expires. This could range from one month to a year. 

For example, if your rent is $1,700 and your lease states you have to pay until a tenant is found, and it takes six months to find a new tenant, you’ll have to pay $10,200.

In addition, some landlords may charge an extra fee to cover promotion costs or broker’s fees associated with finding a new tenant. Ask your landlord about the expectations, because you might be able to avoid these fees if you work to find a tenant yourself.


How To Cut Down Breakage Fees

Most of the time, leases require renters to pay an early termination fee if they break the lease early, as stated in the legally binding lease. But, in certain situations, you may be able to cut down the costs of ending it early. Here are some tips. 

Negotiate With Your Landlord

All landlords are human and sometimes explain your situation kindly. They may be willing to compromise, cut down, or even eliminate the fees. This might be even more in your favor if you have to move due to circumstances out of your control.

To negotiate with your landlord, do the following:

  • Explain your situation as nicely as possible. 
  • Offer to help with any repairs or work that’s needed in your rental for, in return, a reduced breakage fee.
  • Offer to work with them to find a new tenant.

Remember, if you have a good relationship with your landlord and have been a great renter, you may have an increased chance of them reducing your brokerage fee.


Situations Where You Can Legally Break Your Lease

You can break your lease early without legal penalties in a few instances. These instances are:

  • Your rental is uninhabitable from something out of your control.
  • You’re a victim of domestic abuse whether your abuser lives in your Rental or another rental in the building.
  • Your landlord violates your tenant rights through constant harassment or violating your right to privacy.

Are You Moving?

Whether breaking a lease or moving in general, iMoving will make the job easier. Through our wide network of dependable and trusted movers, we make booking the best moving company effortless. 

All the local moving companies in our database are insured and licensed, so you can get the best movers without needing research. 

iMoving is an easy-to-use platform for all of your moving needs. Visit our website, fill out the details, and let us do all the work!


Emily Johnson

With a passion for simplifying the complexities of moving, Emily brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the iMoving blog. As a moving expert and seasoned writer, she offers practical advice, tips, and industry secrets to make moving as stress-free as possible. Having worked in the moving industry for over 12 years, Emily understands the challenges and nuances of relocating. She specializes in crafting informative and engaging content that resonates with those embarking on both local and long-distance moves. Whether you're a first-time mover or a seasoned nomad, Emily's articles are your go-to resource for all things moving. From packing strategies to choosing the right moving services, she covers a broad spectrum of topics, ensuring readers are well-equipped for their next move.

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