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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 countless tenants who rent single-family homes select long-term leases? Having said that, life can be totally unpredictable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always most suitable to have a plan in place, just in case.

Some common reasons for breaking a lease may be job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s important to handle the situation efficiently and aptly follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s primal to take into account that it’s a legally binding agreement. Hence, you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to warrant that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. For instance, in some states, landlords are responsible for warranting that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant before they intend on entering the property.

Failing to adhere to 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 profitable practice for any landlord, though it is not totally required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. In many cases, this includes offering a certain amount of advance notice, commonly 30 days, and certainly paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or discord if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents extends your tenant a way out if needed, and sees to it that you do not chance upon financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s noteworthy to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be saddening when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation expeditiously and understandingly is so important. In such cases, it’s apt to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s a greatly beneficial idea to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they set off. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be actually responsible 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 essential to keep a detailed documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder clarifying their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t follow them. It’s appropriate to send this notice by certified mail to properly establish a paper trail of your actions.

If you are in a frustrating 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 composes filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. You must portray to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the tactics and steps you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One appropriate way to establish that your rental business is done in a professional and legally compliant manner is by retaining the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you properly navigate the complexities of property management and secure that your rental property is managed excellently and transparently.

At Real Property Management Cairn, we competently work on your behalf in Lynchburg and nearby to develop mutually profitable tenant relations and correct any problems brought about by sudden changes. Contact us online or call us at 434-215-3028 to find out more in connection with this and our other quality services.

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