How to Get Out of a Rental Lease Early Due to Family Hardship

by Valencia Higuera ; Updated July 27, 2017

Getting out of a rental lease due to family hardship can prove challenging. Hardships typically include loss of employment, divorce or illness of the bread winner. But even if you have just cause for breaking a rental lease early, your landlord may see things differently. Breaking a lease regardless of the reason can hurt your credit and limit future housing options. For this reason, it's imperative to know your options for getting out of a rental lease early.

Step 1

Address the issue early. The sooner you mention your need to vacate the apartment or house due to family hardship, the sooner you can workout an agreement with your landlord. Your landlord may initially reject your request to vacate early, but then change his mind once he mulls over the situation.

Step 2

Bring attention to your good rental history. Be prepared to negotiate an early release. Remind your landlord that you're a long-term tenant who have never missed a payment, submitted a late payment or bounced a rental check. A good rental history may persuade the landlord to release you from the agreement without penalty.

Step 3

Ask about clauses that allow early release. Read your lease documents or inquire about clauses in the agreement that allow tenants to break their leases due to hardships such as divorce, illness or death of a family member.

Step 4

Buyout the lease agreement. Give your landlord a lump sum to settle or pay off the lease balance.

Step 5

Defer vacating and give your landlord time to interview new tenants. Some landlords are open to early releases as long as another person is ready to rent the apartment. Offer to stay and continue rent payments until your landlord finds a suitable replacement.

About the Author

Valencia Higuera is a freelance writer from Chesapeake, Virginia. She has contributed content to print publications and online publications such as Sidestep.com, AOL Travel, Work.com and ABC Loan Guide. Higuera primarily works as a personal finance, travel and medical writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/journalism from Old Dominion University.