Getting Out of an Apartment Lease Early

I consider myself a professional mover, and not in the sense that I move other people's belongings between homes. In the last twenty years, I have moved around more times than I care to admit, and in some cases the exit was rather abrupt. If you are currently renting an apartment and need to vacate,…

I consider myself a professional mover, and not in the sense that I move other people's belongings between homes. In the last twenty years, I have moved around more times than I care to admit, and in some cases the exit was rather abrupt. If you are currently renting an apartment and need to vacate, you may feel at a loss because you are locked into a lease. Is it possible to get out of your lease early without having to pay it off? You'll definitely need the money to help with moving expenses and rent / mortgage elsewhere, so what do you do?

First, you need to determine if a move midway through your lease is necessary:

1) You have been transferred to another city or state. If you are in the military and sent to another base, you may find assistance through the government in helping you move. If you are moving for work-related reasons, you may wish to connect with someone in Human Resource to see if they offer assistance.

2) Living conditions have dramatically worsened. When you first moved in you may not have encountered problems, but over time you might have discovered an uptick in crime in the area, or neighbors have moved in that make noise all hours of the nights. In my experience as a renter, I've had to deal with neighbors who blasted their stereos at 1AM, and neighbors who smoked in a leaky building. Some problems are easily resolved, but in the case of the smoking we did have to leave an apartment early for health reasons.

3) The building's condition is poor. Sometimes the ventilation does not work, or paint is chipping all around you and the landlord is slow to respond to your requests. If you feel the place is about to fall down around you, you may be inclined to leave early.

If you believe you have just reason to break your lease without incurring any penalty, you should contact someone who knows the laws in your area. Find your lease and determine if there's anything useful to help you. In certain cases, your landlord may be willing to work with you if your move is connected to your job, otherwise you could be in for legal tussle.

What's important in this situation is that you remain calm and try not to stress over money. Acting agitated and defensive may not help your situation with a landlord, but if you have a good reason to break your lease have the legal ground to back you up.