Author Topic: I want to break my lease  (Read 2918 times)

solon

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I want to break my lease
« on: July 03, 2017, 10:19:21 AM »
We're renting a house, but it's time for us to buy our own house. The problem is, we're half-way through a one-year lease, which is up officially at the end of the year.

The house has a lot of problems, although nothing that would indicate breech-of-contract on the owner's part.

  • The water pressure is extremely low. I've been told by a plumber this is because the house was built with 1/2 inch pipe, instead of the standard 3/4 inch.
  • The floor is pergo, and is starting to peel and lift up. The baseboards are made of some kind of foam, which is tacked on and falling off.
  • Two of the windows in the house have moisture and dirt between the panes of glass. Most of the time the condensation inside the window prevents us seeing out them. When the water dries up (which isn't very often) the insides of the glass are covered in dirt. There is no way to clean them.
  • The carpet in the basement is filthy dirty. Like, visibly dirty. We've vacuumed and shampooed, but it doesn't help. My son was laying on the floor last night and said it smelled like urine.
  • Earlier this year the garbage disposal starting leaking under the sink. The owner patched the leak with silicone caulking. Now the disposal is breaking apart on the inside, and we can't use it.
  • One of the screens is too big for the window, and it looks like past tenants have tried to force it to fit. Now it's all warped and doesn't keep bugs out.

If I thought about it a bit longer, I know I could come up with a bunch of other things that are really annoying. All of these things, and more, are making us really anxious to get out of here and get our own place.

I'm not sure what would happen if I broke the lease. The contract says the lease is good until December 31, 2017. We signed it at Thanksgiving time, 2016. So the contract is over 13 months. It says we will forfeit our deposit, but it doesn't say that we owe them 13 months' worth of rent.

So, what would happen if I broke the lease? Would I have to pay rent through the end of the year? If I asked real nicely and offered to help find a new tenant, would they give my deposit back?

cchrissyy

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2017, 11:09:46 AM »
Quote
It says we will forfeit our deposit, but it doesn't say that we owe them 13 months' worth of rent.
Double check the contract, it would be VERY unusual if the above is the case. Very. But only you know what your paperwork says.

That said, I have broken a lease once, and was released from all future payments and received my full deposit back, in a situation where the market was hot and the landlord knew they could get higher rent once I left. I gave notice, cooperated with them for showing appointments, and they got somebody in there for the higher rent with no vacancy gap, and so everybody was happy.


therethere

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2017, 11:18:32 AM »
**Local laws may vary** Typically you'll owe a one month break lease fee and then are required to pay rent to fulfill your lease until a new tenant moves in. So it's in your own interest to help show and advertise the property to get someone else in there fast. Depending on how much your trust your PM or landlord I would drive by every week or so to see if it is occupied. Usually the forfeiture of deposit is only if you break a lease by not paying rent or disappearing mid-lease.

Either suck up the fees as the cost of buying a house or wait until your lease is over and go month to month. If you are friendly with your landlord you could bring up that you are looking to house hunt and see if they will cut you a break for an amicable lease break. I've had two friends successful doing this the past year. We have a PM company and I know they have refused any such concessions. So we've just added a lease break fee to our homebuying budget.



Holyoak

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2017, 11:20:59 AM »
looks like you would only loose your deposit, as per your lease. 

I'm in a developer type place, that has a lease contract in tiny print back and front of a legal sized sheet, that truly you would need an attorney to examine.  Mine says I would owe all the rent due, but they may only go for half.  I have had private rental home leases that were maybe a few lines, and some said nothing about breaking a lease.  One apartment I asked if I could vacate early, and it was no problem (my car had been vandalized).  I did offer to exchange labor, for the deposit, but they were cool and said no and I got my deposit back.  I also rented a home, my mom needed me at home to help her, and my landlord was cool and I got my deposit back.

I'm willing to bet if you were a good tenant, at most you would lose is your deposit.  If the rental market is anything like the housing market in a lot of CO, I would think he would be wading through many, many possible tenants.  My God, even around W.PA, I knew a potential landlord finally do an open house, after he received over two dozen requests to see a rental of his.  FWIW, below is the actual lease...  Not much protection for either side:



LEASE AGREEMENT

This agreement, made this _____ day of __________. _____, by and between XYZ and herein after called “Lessor”,
and
________________________________________ of _______________________________
hereinafter called the “Lessee”.


Lease covers the rental property at 123 Main St: house, shed, lawn, tress, and any other structures and property as used by the lessee.

Term:  Period shall be for one year, renewing for another year on each anniversary, unless agreed otherwise upon by both parties. 

Rent:  For the property on site, rent shall be $650 per month, due 1st of month.

Late Fee: $50 per week for rent paid late, up to 4 weeks.  Eviction after 2 weeks.

Security deposit:  Shall be one month rent.  Shall be returned to lessee after they move out, provided property is in like condition to when they moved in.

Utilities:  Lessee shall pay the cost of all utilities: electricity, fuel oil, and trash removal.

Repairs and maintenance:  Lessee is responsible for snow and ice removal, mowing grass, and maintaining condition of property to current state.

Changes and Alterations:  No changes or alterations shall be made to premises/property without prior written approval of lessor.  This includes the surrounding land.

Lessor's Right of Entry:  Upon reasonable notice, and with lessee present, lessor may inspect the premises.

Pets: No pets inside home at any time. 

Smoking: No smoking in house.

This is the total lease contract, unless written agreements are made by both parties.

Specific to this lease:

1. 

2.

Signature of lessee (s)   date         Signature of lessor           date

YttriumNitrate

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2017, 04:26:14 PM »
How far along in are you in the house buying process? If you have just started looking, a move out date at the end of November would not be unreasonable.

solon

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2017, 04:31:27 PM »
How far along in are you in the house buying process? If you have just started looking, a move out date at the end of November would not be unreasonable.

We've looked at a couple, but haven't found "the one" yet. We were thinking we'd be able to find one as soon as we start looking seriously, and move out by the end of September.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2017, 08:02:19 PM »
We've looked at a couple, but haven't found "the one" yet. We were thinking we'd be able to find one as soon as we start looking seriously, and move out by the end of September.
November/December is usually a bad time to try and rent a house, so if you have a somewhat reasonable landlord they may realize it is in their best interest to have you out in September rather than having the house sit vacant Dec 31 until the Spring.

Neo

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2017, 09:18:23 PM »
I am a landlord and I have a tenant currently wanting to break his lease to buy a house. Realistically if he just leaves I am not going to take him to court or anything. The hassle just wouldnt be worth it, but I am not going to tell him that. Instead I have offered to work with him in the following way which he accepted. If he pays the next two months rent, forfeits his deposit, and does a good job cleaning the unit and paints it, I am going to let him go. I dont want to prevent someone from pursuing home ownership as long as he is willing to work with me so I dont get hurt either. I actually already have someone else wanting to rent the unit, so as long as he follows through on our deal I will come out fine. In general I find it better to work with people vs being unwilling to bend just bc we have a lease.

MommyCake

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2017, 08:53:10 AM »
I would be hesitant to break my lease before I've found a house.  For my current residence, we started looking in June and didn't close/move in until the following March.  There were various setbacks.  If you find something and you put in offer in, I would bring it up to the landlord then.  Because you still need time for attorney review/inspections/current owners may need time to move out/closing date/house need may repairs prior to moving in, etc etc.  Rushing or pressuring yourself to buy something fast is not a good idea, in my opinion. 

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2017, 02:43:24 PM »
None of the nuisances you've described are grounds for abatement or lease cancellation even if your landlord completely fails to repair them. When you accepted the dwelling, it was as-is (urine smell and all).

While I definitely sympathize with you, the reasons you present won't fly in court. Low water pressure, for example, doesn't make a dwelling uninhabitable. Now, if there was *no* water available or if there was an ongoing gas leak, you'd have an argument for abatement and could possibly have the lease broken by a judge if your landlord refused to fix the problem. But as matters stand the dwelling is habitable and you're living in it. So taking your landlord to court to break the lease isn't an option.

Other posters have mentioned the possibility of negotiating an early termination payment. It could be an option but then you're still out of pocket at a time when you need to be putting together a mortgage down payment (unless of course you're a cash buyer which is a reasonable possibility on this board).

Financially, your best bet would actually be to find a replacement tenant willing to take over the last part of your lease. This must be a "qualified" tenant who can afford the lease and meet your landlord's standards the way you do. If you can arrange for that person to move in when you move out, you don't have to be out of pocket even one cent.

Cwadda

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2017, 11:11:55 AM »
The best way to do deals like this is to put yourself in the other person's shoes.

The best situation for your landlord would be to have zero vacancy and no fuss, right? Offer to pay a whole 1-2 months worth of rent even after you leave. If they get someone else in there, they'd be getting double rent. Seems like a good deal, right? I would not do this on a whim though. You need to get a house first, or some other kind of living situation because home-buying can be a very slow process.

Dicey

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2017, 01:01:01 AM »
I'm a LL and I've had two tenants break leases. Each time, I tell them they can do it as long as I'm not left out of pocket. They must pay the rent and utilities until the next tenant's lease begins. If I had to pay a commission to an agent when they signed the lease, then they have to reimburse me for that, too. It worked out fine both times.

There are so many variables in purchasing a home. It could happen quickly, or it might take longer than you think. You might have a seller who wants to rent back for a short time, or you might find something that you'll need to work on before you can move in. I'd recommend you start by talking to your LL straight up. As TGS stated, do NOT go at them with a litany of piddly crap, such as the list you presented. That isn't the way to get the LL to cooperate.

I live in CA, which is a tenant-friendly state. It's relatively easy for a landlord to get the short end of the stick, except when a tenant breaks a lease without cause. Buying another property leaves a huge paper trail. It wouldn't be hard for your LL and the courts to figure out why you really broke your lease.

Linea_Norway

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2017, 01:55:36 AM »
About filthy carpets... I have rented several times to a room with a filthy carpet. I just went out and bought a cheap new carpet and put that on top of it. That way you have a decent and clean carpet in your room. And it is easy to remove when you leave.

solon

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2017, 12:56:29 PM »
Well, this is going to work out well.

The property manager called me and said the owner of the house wants to sell it. He was going to wait until the end of the lease, but I said we wanted to buy our own place, soon. We all agreed it would be best for everyone if we all sold and moved as soon as possible. So now whenever I put an offer on a house, all I have to do is give 30 days notice to vacate. Their letting me out early, of their own free will.

Couldn't have asked for a better resolution.

Cwadda

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Re: I want to break my lease
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2017, 01:11:57 PM »
Well, this is going to work out well.

The property manager called me and said the owner of the house wants to sell it. He was going to wait until the end of the lease, but I said we wanted to buy our own place, soon. We all agreed it would be best for everyone if we all sold and moved as soon as possible. So now whenever I put an offer on a house, all I have to do is give 30 days notice to vacate. Their letting me out early, of their own free will.

Couldn't have asked for a better resolution.
Glad things worked out.

Ask to buy it from them, make repairs and rent it out yourself :)