Early move-out/breaking a lease


I'm buying a house. Can I get out of my lease?

There seems to be a common misperception that buying a home allows you to break your lease; that's not true. Unless you and the property owner agreed to some special provision when the lease was signed, you will still be responsible for any charges noted in your lease if you move out early to purchase a home. Such charges may include a "reletting fee" (to cover the property's cost of getting the apartment leased again) and the remainder of the rent through the end of your lease term, less rent received from a subsequent resident.


My company is transferring me to another city. Can I get out of my lease?

Unless you have a transfer clause in your lease that was agreed to by all parties when the lease was signed, you'll still be responsible for any charges noted in your lease if you move early because of a job change or move. Such charges may include a "reletting fee" (to cover the property's cost of getting the apartment leased again) and the remainder of the rent through the end of your lease term, less rent received from a subsequent resident. You may want to discuss this with your employer when you are negotiating the transfer.


I don't think the property is maintained well. Can I get out of my lease?

Maybe, but that decision will likely be made in court. If repairs are not being made to conditions that materially affect the health and safety of the ordinary resident, and you follow the appropriate notice provisions outlined in state law, you may exercise statutory remedies that can include terminating your lease. However, you must follow the notice procedures carefully. You may want to get legal advice before trying to use these provisions in the law.


I don't feel safe at the property anymore. Can I get out of my lease?

If a crime occurs at a property, it's unfortunate for all concerned: the victim, the other residents at the property and the dwelling owner. Most owners don't give any guarantees about the security of the property, or promise you that no crimes will occur on the property. So the owner is not likely to be in default of the lease if a crime does occur on the property. You can certainly discuss the specific situation with the owner or management to see if they are willing to accommodate your requests, or can advise you about additional precautions you should take. If you still want to move out, you can do so, but you will likely be responsible for any penalties outlined in your lease for moving out early.


I'm in the military, and I'm being transferred or deployed. Can I get out of my lease?

Under paragraph 23 of the TAA Lease Contract, the owner is required to allow you to move out early under certain circumstances. You may terminate your lease contract if you enlist or are drafted or commissioned into active service in the U.S. Armed Forces or are a member of the Armed Forces or reserves called to active duty AND are either:

(i) given change-of-station orders to permanently depart the local area;

(ii) deployed with a military unit or as an individual in support of a military unit for 90 days or more; or

(iii) relieved or released from active duty.

When a member of the Armed Forces terminates a lease under paragraph 23, the termination automatically terminates the lease for any spouse or dependent who may have signed it. If, at the time of signing a lease, you already knew about the change of duty station or retirement or knew that your term of enlistment would expire prior to the end of your lease term and if you failed to inform the owner of such facts prior to signing, you are liable to the owner for liquidated damages in the amount of all rent losses that the owner may incur during the remainder of the original lease term, even though you have terminated the lease under paragraph 23.