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How to Ask Your Landlord to Break Your Lease Without Penalty


There are unexpected circumstances that may arise that could cause the need to break your lease. This can be a daunting situation, but one that should be handled gracefully and professionally. 

Approaching your landlord with the news of having to break your lease can be difficult. Here are some tips on how to handle this delicate situation while trying to mitigate penalties. 

Develop a Positive Relationship With Your Landlord Early On

By maintaining a respectful and polite relationship with your landlord early on in your tenancy, this can set the state for how communications unfold. Your courtesy, on-time payment, keeping your apartment clean and quiet, and responding to your landlord’s requests can go a long way in helping you with the sticky situation of breaking your lease. If the groundwork is there, your landlord may be willing to give you more consideration.

Be Prepared to Share the Reason – and Be Forthcoming

Be sure before you contact your landlord you have your talking points ready. You will need to be very straightforward and forthcoming about why you are requesting to terminate your lease. If the situation is a financial one – be ready to share the specifics. Was it a job loss? An illness that has put strain on your financial ability to pay? A family emergency?  Make sure to be able to provide documentation. If it’s a romantic break-up, it may be worthwhile to delve into the reasons remaining in the property just isn’t feasible.

Propose Finding a Tenant to Assume Your Lease

Your landlord’s main concern will be receiving rent for their property. Use your social networks to search and find a qualified tenant to take over your lease. Once you have identified a qualified tenant, be ready to present references, and proof of that person’s payment ability to your landlord. Your landlord wants to see the unit rented, and should be satisfied. You can also mention that there could be additional unpleasant tasks associated with finding a tenant should they not accept your replacement. Prospective tenants need to be screened and there can be several expenses associated with finding a new tenant. Be sure to demonstrate how your legwork is actually a help to your landlord, even though breaking the lease is inconvenient.

Understand There May be Expenses You’ll Have to Pay

Breaking a lease has legal implications. Your landlord can sue you for the total rent that you owe. If you have a cordial relationship with your landlord, you can propose some options that they may entertain. First, offer to surrender your security deposit. This gesture may appease them. Second, offer to pay any fees associated with qualifying a new tenant. These fees can include credit checks, attorney fees, or advertising fees. 

Read Your Lease Carefully

There may be causes in your lease that can justify breaking your lease without excessive penalty. If there is an unsafe situation, if there is a clause about job loss or relocation, or if you have flexible lease terms, you may have leverage. To be in a better position, you can have a lawyer or other expert review your lease to see if you have any options.

How to Approach Your Landlord and Ask to Break Your Lease Without Penalty?


Life can be unpredictable and apartment leases are one facet of this. If you find yourself needing to break your lease, it can be a daunting situation. The groundwork for this can be a respectful and good relationship with your landlord. Before you call or email your landlord with the request of breaking a lease, be sure to have talking points ready, and a plan to mitigate the costs which includes offering to forfeit your security deposit or propose qualified tenants. 


The main concern for landlords is to have their units rented. If you can offer a plan to handle this matter and save them money, that’s the best approach.