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What Should I Do If My Tenant Breaks Their Lease?

Frustrated rental property tenants sitting on couch with cardboard boxes
Did you know that most of the tenants who rent single-family homes like long-term leases so much better? But unfortunately, life can be uncertain, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always best and profitable to have a plan in place, just in case.

The usual reasons for breaking a lease are job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s advisable to handle the situation properly well and suitably follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s crucial to think that it’s a legally binding agreement. This simply means you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to establish that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. Like, in a multitude of states, landlords are responsible for keeping sure that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant first before entering the property.

Failing to heed landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in a number of states. Other reasons include military service, domestic violence, or uninhabitable property.

Lease Termination Clause

Including an early lease termination clause in your lease documents is a beneficial practice for any landlord, even as it is not compulsory. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. Customarily, this includes giving a certain amount of advance notice, most commonly 30 days, and probably paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or disputes if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents gives your tenant as a way out if needed, and gives assurance that you do not face financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s imperative to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be unsatisfactory when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation masterfully and hospitably is essential. In such cases, it’s beneficial to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s an exciting idea to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they move house. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be answerable for and what you need to do to get the property ready for a new tenant. As with any tenant, you should calculate any unpaid rent and the cost of repairs and deduct them from their security deposit. It is critical to keep a detailed documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder to expound on their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t obey them. It’s logical to send this notice by certified mail to generate a paper trail of your actions.

If you meet a situation where your tenant is not paying the rent, you might have to go through a legal process to collect the owed rent and associated fees. This could entail filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is pertinent for you to establish to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the procedures you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One secure way to guarantee that your rental business is operated in a professional and legally compliant manner is by employing the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you suitably navigate the complexities of property management and always ensure that your rental property is managed greatly and transparently.

At Real Property Management Key Response, we competently work on your behalf in Gallatin and nearby to build up excellent tenant relations and clear up unforeseen changes. Contact us online or call us at 615-953-8700 to find out more with respect to this and our other quality services.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

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