Changing or Terminating a Lease
Modifying a lease once you’ve signed it can be very difficult. Therefore, you should read the entire lease before you sign it and negotiate any changes you wish to make. If you want to change the lease after it has been signed, both you and the landlord must initial and date each change.
Breaking a Lease
A lease is a legal contract. If you move out before the lease expires, you will be liable for breaching the contract. When this happens, the landlord may be entitled to damages. You will not have your security deposit returned and you may be held responsible for the remainder of the rent that is due. There are three tactics you can use to avoid this situation:
- Negotiate: You may be able to negotiate with your landlord to let you out of your lease early. This is usually dependent on the rental market at the time you wish to leave the lease.
- Sublets: If you plan to leave your lease early, you may be able to sublet your apartment. A sublet is an arrangement that allows you to lease your apartment to another person during the term of your lease. You will need your landlord’s permission to do this. If your landlord approves, you can lease your apartment to another person but will still be responsible for rent and damages. Your security deposit will not be refunded until your lease expires. More information on sublets is available on our “Subletting & Lease Assignments” page.
Lease Assignment (or “re-lease”): A lease assignment is when a current tenant cancels his or her lease and another person assumes responsibility for the remainder of the lease. You would be responsible for finding someone to replace you and that person must be willing to sign a lease. Under this arrangement, you would no longer be responsible for the apartment and a new lease would be made between the landlord and the new tenant. You are also entitled to a refund of your security deposit, less damages, within 30 days after you move out. More information on lease assignments is available on our “Subletting & Lease Assignments” page.