Advice on Getting From an Apartment Lease

Advice on Getting From an Apartment Lease

Apartment leases are legally binding contracts between tenants and landlords who dictate the conditions of a rental agreement, especially how much rent is owed each month and for how long. There are times when an individual needs to break his lease. Exactly the termination plays out dictates the impact.


In California, apartment rentals could be executed as written or oral agreements, according to the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs. California requires leases that are longer than one year to maintain writing. In any case, if a tenant moves out and stops paying rent prior to the lease end date, then she’s responsible for contract, which can have negative consequences. Not everyone has a lease. Many people signal what California calls”periodic rental arrangements.” This type of pact renews with each rent payment and can be terminated by either party with notice equivalent to the number of days between rent payments.


When a renter breaks a flat lease without consulting his landlord, the impact can be profound. As Maxine Sweet of this Experian Credit Bureau clarifies, most landlords do not report tenants to credit reporting agencies, as the procedure is cost-prohibitive. Landlords do take things to court. When a landlord receives a ruling against a delinquent tenant in tiny claims court, then it remains on the tenant’s credit report for seven years from the filing date. If a landlord employs a debt collector to regain past-due rent, it can show up on a tenant’s credit report as a”collection account,” that Sweet advises is also unfavorable. Large businesses that possess many properties may have the ability to afford the costs of coverage renters to credit bureaus. As Steve McLinden of advises, breaking a lease could lead to a 50-point ding to a person’s credit score.


Some leases have a buyout clause, Since McLinden points out. A tenant could pay his landlord a predetermined amount–said in the rental –to terminate his agreement early without additional penalty. If the entire rent a tenant owes in the rest of the weeks on his lease is more than the buyout figure, it can be the very best alternative for the tenant. Tenants can also tactic landlords about finding somebody to sublet or take over their apartment. A sublet, or sublease, works best if the renter needs to be off for a short period of time, due to work or another obligation. As the California Department of Consumer Affairs reports, a renter can also ask whether the landlord will allow her to assign her lease to somebody else. In any situation, the landlord could say no. He can also expect the tenant’s help in locating a new and suitable tenant.

Subleases and Assignments

According to the Department of Consumer Affairs, in case a sublease arrangement occurs, the first lease holder is still responsible for damages and rent to his or her unit. A sublease contract is executed between the tenant and subtenant. The subtenant should abide by the conditions of the tenant’s lease, but pays rent directly to the renter, who forwards it to the landlord. Under an assignment, the new tenant becomes liable, exonerating the original renter from obligation.

Expert Insight

As the San Francisco Rent Board states, most apartment rentals in California become monthly agreements at the end of their fixed term. In this situation, the landlord or the tenant could end the arrangement with appropriate notice. Tenants need to provide 30 days’ notice, while a landlord should give 60 days’ warning to tenants who have lived within their units for more than a year and 30 days for the other tenants. As the Department of Consumer Affairs notes, however, several cities, including San Francisco, only permit landlords to evict tenants on the basis of several”just causes”–you can find 15 in San Francisco, as of August 2010–even when operating on a month-to-month lease.

See related