Handling a Broken Lease

Last modified on October 4th, 2013

When a resident wants to break a lease and you are a property manager it can be a real challenge. A broken lease means you’ve suddenly got a vacancy to fill, and often it’s a hard one to fill if people choose to leave at awkward times of the month. Certainly, filling a unit when a resident has moved before the completion of their lease can be a big job. However, there are a few ways to simplify the process.

Check The Lease
This is your industry, and you know that whatever the lease says is law! Make sure to review any clauses in the lease relevant to the tenant moving out early. For instance, is the resident required to pay rent for the remaining part of the lease? This will help you determine how to proceed next.

Explain That They Are On The Hook For Rental Losses
Once you’ve reviewed the lease, make sure that your resident is aware of everything in it. For instance, they may not realize that they’re responsible for paying rent until you can find a new renter. Educate them, and you may find that they’ll work hard to come to an arrangement with you.

Come Up With Ways They Can Help

If the resident is willing to provide some assistance in finding a new person to fill the vacancy, it could really speed up the process. Once the resident knows they’ll have to pay rent until there’s a new renter, let them know they can recommend someone, help do some basic marketing, and show the property when they are available. Of course, you still want to take care of tenant screening yourself, but the resident can help with the rest!

Despite your best efforts, there is always the potential that you will come across an uncooperative resident. This could mean that they fail to help with the process of finding a new person to fill the vacancy, or that they skip out on the rest of the rent that they owed. In this case, it might just become a legal battle. In the meantime, check out some ways you can improve your vacancy ads to fill your units more quickly.


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