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Costs to Break a Lease

It's smart to take into account all of the costs of breaking a lease before you decide to go this route instead of subletting or assigning a lease.

Fees

Most landlords will charge you some kind of lease breakage fee to help cover the expense of getting your unit rented to another tenant. If you live in a building managed by a large property management firm they probably have a fee in place of between one and three months of rent. If you live in a rental unit managed by an individual person then you will probably have more room for negotiation, and you might be able to get them to take one month of rent or less.

Security deposit

You may lose your security deposit in addition to lease breakage fees, but this is less common. Landlords usually treat security deposits differently than rent, and will give you your security deposit back after they've inspected the unit even if you left early and broke your lease.

Other costs

There are more than just monetary costs to breaking your lease. Many landlords care more or as much about your references from your previous landlords as they do about your credit score and income. If you don't have a good relationship with your landlord because of a dispute around a lease break they will be unlikely to give you a good reference in the future.

Next steps

Worried about the downsides of breaking a lease? Two options for getting out of your lease without all the costs of breaking your lease are subletting or assigning the lease to another qualified tenant.

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