Tag Archives: leases

What To Do When A Tenant Breaks the Lease


Every landlord will most likely experience a tenant bailing before the end of their lease. And if you haven’t already, don’t hold your breath. It will happen. Sometimes the tenant has good reason to whether it’s due to a family emergency or a job transfer. Other times, the tenant’s only excuse is “I want to move.” So now, take a deep breath and look at these tips:


1. Expect the Worst – From the Beginning

When you sit down to discuss the terms of the lease, just expect the worst from the get-go. This will help protect you. Even if you hope for the best, expect the worst. Life happens. Therefore the lease is always in danger.


2. Communicate With Your Tenant

Be very, very clear from the start what will happen if/when the lease is broken. Your policies may vary from the next landlord in town so state your policies clearly. You could require the tenant find a replacement tenant should they choose to move out early. This will save any lost income. Also remember to communicate what you will do should the tenant break the lease. This action could involve a forfeit of the security deposit or something like that. You can also include a statement in the lease about how said lease is legally binding, meaning that you can take the tenant to small claims court to recoup lost income.


3. Be Aware of Applicable Laws

Check with your state laws regarding tenants and leases. Don’t make the situation messier than it already is. Then (quickly!) proceed with caution.

When you do take action, make every effort to contact your tenant before retaking their possession if they do not already notify you. It is up to you to either release them from the lease or strictly enforce the rent payment. Remember that you must wait 15 days for a rent payment before officially considering the rental “abandoned”.