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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 various tenants who rent single-family homes single out and choose long-term leases? Yet, life can be uncertain and unpredictable, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always great to have a plan in place, just in case.

The most common reasons for breaking a lease include job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s critical to handle the situation professionally and appropriately follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s great to bring to mind that it’s a legally binding agreement. So, you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to safeguard that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. By way of example, in lots of states, landlords are responsible for certifying that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant every time you’re planning on entering the property.

Failing to conform to landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in several 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 favorable practice for any landlord, even if it is not actually required. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. Most of the time, this includes providing a certain amount of advance notice, generally 30 days, and mostly paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or disagreements of opinion if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents provides your tenant a way out if needed and ascertains that you do not come upon financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s integral to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be distressing when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation adeptly and compassionately is focal. In such cases, it’s advisable to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s a beneficial idea to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they transfer. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be held answerable 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 critical to keep a detailed documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder expounding their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t carefully comply with them. It’s fitting to send this notice by certified mail to ensure a paper trail of your actions.

If you’re facing 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 embodies filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is salient for you to impart to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the activities you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One surefire way to warrant that your rental business is successfully managed in a professional and legally compliant manner is by bringing in the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you properly navigate the complexities of property management and nail down that your rental property is managed rightly and transparently.

At Real Property Management Victory, we professionally work on your behalf in Birmingham and nearby to build up favorable tenant relations and settle problems caused by unforeseen changes. Contact us online or call us at 205-793-0700 to discover more concerning this and our other quality services.

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