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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 practically all tenants who rent single-family homes select long-term leases? But as a matter of fact, life can be irregular and unpredictable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always preferable to have a plan in place, just in case.

Frequent reasons for breaking a lease include job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s critical to handle the situation capably and follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s significant to note that it’s a legally binding agreement. This indicates 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. Take one example, in practically all states, landlords are responsible for establishing that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant before you try entering the property.

Failing to conform to landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in most 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 positive practice for any landlord, conceding that it is not mandated. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. Normally, this includes bringing a certain amount of advance notice, mostly 30 days, and conceivably paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or conflicts if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents contributes your tenant a way out if needed and ascertains that you do not endure financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

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

It’s a great concept to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they vacate. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be held accountable for in payments 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 very important to keep all-inclusive documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder indicating their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t deal with them. It’s acceptable to send this notice by certified mail to bring about a paper trail of your actions.

If you come upon 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 takes in filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is critical for you to point out to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the programs you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One wonderful way to always ensure that your rental business is worked on in a professional and legally compliant manner is by turning to the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you properly navigate the complexities of property management and make certain that your rental property is managed more than adequately and transparently.

At Real Property Management of the Rockies, we effectively work on your behalf in Loveland and nearby to generate ideal tenant relations and find the answer to unpredictable changes. Contact us online or call us at 970-658-0410 to easily learn more about this and our other quality services.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

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