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Find Someone to Takeover Your Lease

If you need to get out of a lease, one of your options is to find a qualified tenant that wants to sign on for the remaining months.

When you find someone to takeover your lease you are transferring or assigning your interest in your lease to them. You leave permanently. You may or may not still be responsible for the rent payments in case the assignee defaults - this depends on the agreement you sign with your landlord.

Here are six steps for quickly and legally assign your lease.

  1. Check local laws

    Check local laws to see if your landlord is required to mitigate damages caused by unpaid rent. They are in most states.

    If your landlord is required to mitigate damages then they're obligated to accept your assignee as long as he or she is as qualified as you.

    For example, if there are six months left on your lease, the rent is $1,000 and you want to leave, then you would be responsible for $6,000 of damages. By finding a renter who wants to take the entire remaining six months then you're giving your landlord an opportunity to avoid suffering that $6,000 in damages.

    In this situation the landlord is required to let you market it and accept any qualified renters you present them with. If you think you might have an issue, or your landlord is being uncooperative then read up on the law and your state's policies.

  2. Check your landlord's policies

    If your building is professionally managed then there might be existing policies in place for renters looking to assign. You'll want to find if there are any required forms for assignments, who you should send the assignee's application to, if there will be a rent increase and if they charge an additional fee.

  3. Find a replacement tenant

    Create an advertisement for your listing. List the rent price, amount of months left on the lease and add as many photos as possible. You can create the listing in a variety of different places besides Flip: Facebook marketplace, Facebook groups, or Craigslist.

  4. Make sure they are qualified

    If you send someone to your landlord as your replacement and they don't qualify then you've wasted everyone's time. Review your applicant's income, credit score, identity, criminal history and renting history first. They must be as qualified as you in terms of credit score and income.

    Start a rental on Flip and ask your potential replacement to apply if you want the qualification work handled for you.

  5. Prepare an assignment agreement

    Probably the most common misconception about a lease assignment is that you're completely off the hook. In actuality, you're only off the hook entirely if your agreement includes a clause that specifically releases you. Otherwise you will be expected to return if the assignee stops paying the rent, kick them out yourself and start living there again.

    To make sure your legal agreement has this and all the right clauses, make an airtight assignment agreement and sign it with your assignee before sending to your landlord.

  6. Put the rental application and the assignment agreement into an email and send it to your landlord. You can also include a cover letter describing what you are asking for in detail. The letter should reference any relevant state laws.

  7. Execute your agreement

    If you use the assignment agreement template that Flip provides then your agreement will contain a clause that releases you from the contractual obligations of your lease. Make sure that your landlord signs this agreement. It is fairly common to get permission to transfer your lease without actually getting released from the lease. This means that if your assignee flakes or defaults you'll be expected to return and deal with the situation.

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