break a lease

Is it legal for a tenant to break a lease?

We get many phone calls from owners asking if it is legal for the tenants to break a lease. The short answer is yes but depending to state and local laws there are limitations. Here we will discuss the most common reasons why tenant’s will break a lease and it is not only limited to these reasons.

Let’s dive in.

It is legal to break a lease when:

Military Service
According to the Service members Civil Relief Act it is legal to break a lease if the service member obtains orders to deploy for a minimum of 90 days or to move. The tenant must provide a copy of the order and give a 30-day notice. Thirty days after the next rent due date the lease will legally end.

Domestic Violence
Depending on local or state law victims of domestic violence cases can break a lease by providing written notice attached with a court document, legal notice, or protective order. You must check with local and state laws to determine if tenant can break lease with or without financial penalty.

Property Condition
In my experience this is the most common reason a tenant will break a lease. If the property is in an unsafe condition or uninhabitable, the tenant has the right to break the lease. Make sure to check local and state laws, which could require the property owner to pay moving expenses.

Any reason
A tenant can break a lease for any reason. Across the nation there are some states that only require a 30-day notice to break a lease. This is where your lease agreement becomes the governing document between the property owner and the tenant. We at Miami Property Management LLC ensure that a minimum of two month’s rent is the penalty for breaking the lease early. In most cases, we require 2 months’ rent to break the lease or in some cases the remaining rent for the rest of the term. (When the break of lease is unjustifiable.)

In some cases, we would require that the tenant find another qualified tenant to replace them to avoid any further financial penalties.

Final Thoughts
Tenants do break leases at times it’s not a perfect world. I would rather be notified that a tenant needs to break the lease than chasing tenants for money. Try to smooth things out with your tenant it can save you time and money. The best thing you can do as a landlord is to make sure the property is kept well and maintained. Be fair and respectful to the tenants even during hard times remember your lease protects you if things do get ugly.

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