Can one person break a two person lease?

Can one person break a two person lease?

It is possible to break a two person lease. You should consult the terms of your lease and talk with your property manager. Options may include breaking a lease with fees, lease negotiation, subletting, or finding a new tenant. Changes to the terms of your lease should be documented in writing.

Imagine, being able to break your lease so you can buy a home or move out of a bad situation. Yearly leases can make it a nightmare to move when you want.

However, it is possible for you to break the lease if you understand the terms.

Luckily for you, I’ll show you how to break a lease with two people, even if your roommate doesn’t want to break it. I’ll show you how much it costs to break a lease and some steps to protect yourself. You’ll be on your way to moving in no time!

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Can one person break a two person lease

It is possible for one person to break a two person lease. Technically, the property owner is entitled to compensation per the terms of your lease. Therefore, you may have to pay fees for breaking your lease, sublease, or find a new tenant.

How can you break a lease with two people?

Leases are legally binding documents and changes to your lease or breaking a lease needs to be documented in writing. You should consult your landlord or property manager for your options on breaking a lease, such as subletting, breaking lease fees, or finding a new tenant. Submit a notice of intent to vacate with a move out date, leave the property in good condition, and document the condition of the property.

Discuss breaking your lease

The first thing you should do is discuss potentially breaking your lease with your Landlord or property manager. You can also find terms for breaking a lease documented in your lease. Your Landlord may be able to negotiate favorable terms, which would allow you to break your lease without issue. 

For example, some Landlords may be wishing to sell their property or rent it to a close friend or family member. Therefore, your Landlord would prefer you to vacate the rental anyways. This is a mutually beneficial situation where both parties are in favor of breaking the lease.

Get the details in writing

Leases are legally binding documents. All changes to a lease, negotiations, and terms of breaking your lease should be documented in writing. Signed copies by both parties are always preferred in the event breaking a lease turns into litigation.

Text messages are very informal, but they are better than having zero documentation. You should aim to type up a written document for breaking your lease. Never delete any written communication (e.g. text, email, letters) between you and your property manager.

Written communication is important in the event the court gets involved. Your landlord could say one thing verbally and then decide to take legal action later. The court needs proof of communications to avoid a ‘he said she said’ type situation.

Submit a notice of intent to vacate

A notice of intent to vacate is the official channel for informing your Landlord of your intentions to leave. You should include your intent to move out, the date you plan to move out, and the reason for moving. Send the notice by certified mail which documents the notice was mailed and collects a signature the notice was received.

You should note that submitting the notice of intent to vacate needs to be completed as soon as possible. The more advanced notice you give your landlord of your intent to vacate, the easier it will be to reduce your cost of breaking the lease.

Leave the property in good condition on or before your vacate date

Leaving the property in better condition than you found it will help reduce your chances of litigation or having problems with breaking your lease. Essentially, you want to give your landlord no reason for regretting breaking your lease. Make sure you clean the carpets, repair any damages, and look for any provisions in your lease that need to be fulfilled before vacating.

Take pictures of the property before leaving

Taking photos is the best way to show the condition of the property at a point in time. Some landlords may decide to go to court over property damages that you didn’t commit. Therefore, it’s best to protect yourself from potential litigation by documenting the condition of the property.

For example, let’s assume you vacate the property. Your landlord hires a contractor to come clean the carpets. During the carpet cleaning process, the contractor uses the wrong chemical and stains the carpet.

The landlord feels the need to replace the carpet. The national average of replacing a carpet is nearly $1,700! Obviously, your landlord isn’t going to want to pay for the damages.

Your landlord takes you to small claims court over the damages. However, you have pictures showing the stain wasn’t there when you left the premises. The judge is more likely to side with you because you have proof of the home’s condition.

Fill out a property condition report

A property condition report is similar to taking pictures of the rental, but written instead. Chances are you filled out a property condition report when you leased the property. A property condition report gives you the opportunity to document any adverse conditions the property is in. This report should be sent by certified mail to your landlord.

What if I want to break my lease but my roommate doesn’t?

The easiest way to break your lease without support from your roommate is to sublease or find another tenant. You should consult your lease or negotiate with your landlord to see if subleasing is an option. Most landlords will allow you to break your lease if you have a replacement tenant.

How much does it cost to break a lease?

You should consult your individual lease to see what provisions are given on breaking a lease. However, you may be required to pay the cost of reletting (about 1 weeks rent), advertising costs (about $100), and rent until the end of lease or until a new tenant is found. Typically, property managers are able to find a new tenant in 4 weeks.

The more advanced notice you can give your landlord, the less in fees you might pay. You are giving the landlord the most amount of time to find someone else to pay the rent.

However, the best thing to do is find someone willing to take over your lease. Landlords just want someone in the rental to keep seeing rent payments. Therefore, some landlords will be flexible enough to let you break your lease while taking on the tenant you found.

What are legal reasons to break a lease?

Legal reasons to break a lease typically include breach of contract, unsafe living environments, or excessive hardship. You have to be able to show the rental contract isn’t being fulfilled or that your rental is not a safe place to live.

Breach of contract

Comb through the contract you signed when you first moved into the rental. Is your landlord upholding the terms that were set forth in the contract? If your landlord is failing to meet the terms of the contract then you have a legal right to pursue breaking your lease.

Unsafe living conditions are not corrected quickly

Your property may not be safe to live in due to mold, structural issues, insects, gas leaks, etc. The property manager has the responsibility to provide you with a safe structure to live in and to resolve safety issues in a timely manner. Failure to provide you with a safe living environment can result in a broken lease.

You have a replacement tenant

Your lease may be broken if you have an acceptable replacement tenant lined up. Your landlord may not have to accept the tenant depending on the terms of your lease. However, having a replacement tenant is the easiest way to break your lease.

Excessive hardship

Your lease might be able to be broken if you experience excessive hardship. Examples of excessive hardship include job loss or inability to pay your rent (e.g. Covid-19 hardship).

The landlord, cotenant, or cotenant’s relationships make the home unsafe

As previously mentioned, you are entitled to a safe home. Unfortunately, a safe home may be jeopardized by aggressive or threatening landlords, your roommate, or roommates relationships.

The landlord is selling the rental

A landlord may choose to sell their rental property. The lease will often specify the conditions in which your landlord can sell the property. However, there are often provisions in place to allow you to break your lease if the owner is selling.

A tenant dies

You may be able to break your lease in the unfortunate event that your roommate dies. In most cases, you may not be able to afford the rent without your roommate. The terms of your lease have changed because the other lessee is no longer paying rent.

Summary: Can one person break a joint tenancy?

As you can see, it is possible to break a joint tenancy. Options may include breaking a lease with fees, lease negotiation, subletting, or finding a new tenant. You should consult your lease and discuss your options with your landlord.

Always get the terms of breaking your lease in writing. You should also submit notice of intent to vacate, take pictures of the property, and fill out a property condition report.

The fees for breaking your lease can be reduced by finding a tenant to take over your lease. The majority of fees are for advertising to find a new tenant and continuing the rent. Therefore, being proactive about finding a new tenant can save you a lot of money.

Legal reason to break a lease include:

  • Breach of Contract
  • Unsafe living conditions not resolved in a timely manner
  • A replacement tenant is found
  • Excessive hardship
  • A threatening or abusive landlord, roommate, or roomate’s frequent visitor
  • The landlord is selling the rental
  • A tenant dies

In all cases, you should consult the lease you signed. A lease is a legally binding contract and sets forth the terms you need to abide by.