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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 most tenants who rent single-family homes choose long-term leases? With that said, life can be absolutely unpredictable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always the very best to have a plan in place, just in case.

Conventional reasons for breaking a lease include job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s necessary to handle the situation masterfully and follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s integral to bear in mind that it’s a legally binding agreement. Having said that, you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to guarantee that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. By way of illustration, in several states, landlords are responsible for assuring that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant preparatory to entering the property.

Failing to comply with landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in a lot 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 an advantageous practice for any landlord, even while it is not absolutely required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. In the majority of cases, this includes tendering a certain amount of advance notice, oftentimes 30 days, and in all probability paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or disputes if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents grants your tenant a way out if necessary, and checks that you do not fall into financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s critical to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be upsetting when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation properly and amiably is very important. In such cases, it’s acceptable and more ideal to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s strongly recommended to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they shove off. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be directly 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 necessary to keep extensive documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder interpreting their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t obey them. It’s recommended to send this notice by certified mail to set up a paper trail of your actions.

If you are faced with a 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 envelopes filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is relevant for you to clearly show to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the efforts you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One best means to make certain that your rental business is fulfilled in a professional and legally compliant manner is by utilizing the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you suitably navigate the complexities of property management and safeguard that your rental property is managed correctly and transparently.

At Real Property Management Champion, we capably work on your behalf in Jacksonville and nearby to engender beneficial tenant relations and resolve problems brought about by sudden changes. Contact us online or call us at 910-638-0190 to know more regarding this and our other quality services.

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