Break A Lease Without Legal Troubles

An apartment lease is a binding legal contract between you and your landlord. This means there is a big chance that you would be in breach of your contract if you broke your lease before the time is up. There are legit reasons for breaking leases, and many don't realize that you can lessen your chance of a penalty by knowing a few things before deciding what to do. Here is the skinny on how to break your apartment lease with the lowest chances of a penalty.

You can break your lease with the lowest penalty possible if your apartment is severely damaged. If your apartment has become damaged beyond repair and is can certainly break your lease. However, the damage has to be from a reason such as weather, crime or repairs that should have been fixed years ago before you moved in. You can in no way claim any damage you may have caused. Therefore, it's best to have some sort of proof from a contractor or repair man before making this accusation.

You can also break your lease with the minimum penalty if any if you are in the military and have been called into active duty. However, there is a catch to have to have signed your lease BEFORE being calling back.

You can also break your lease with minimum penalty if you have suffered a severe health problem. In some states (not all), you can get out of your lease if you become very sick or injured, or if you need to move to an assisted living facility. Check the law in your state for more information.

If your landlord will not live up to his duties and responsibilities you should be able to break your lease without penalty. This can be a tricky situation. You will need proof and you will probably have to go to small claims court. You can start by reporting it to your local public housing authority in your city and state.

You should also be aware of the HIGHEST penalty actions for breaking your lease and try to avoid them. These things include: marriage, another room mate, pets, damage you've made to the property, not paying rent on time and other oddities.

Fortunately, there's chance to avoid a penalty even in this situation. Most states require landlords to "mitigate damages" by making reasonable attempts to re-rent your apartment once you give notice. Make sure to give your landlord at least a month's notice before attempting these things.


  • Talk to your landlord and they will more than likely be understanding and willing to negotiate.
  • Never threaten to move out just because they have guidelines.
  • Offer to repair damages you've made or to even cut your own grass. This will make your landlord more acceptable of your needs.