Post # 1
Do any of you bees know if all rental leases come with a default for how they can be broken? Darling Husband and I are in the process of saving for a house. I should definitely have a down payment within the next year no problem with additional savings to spare. My rental contract expires in May each year. If the perfect home comes up by year’s end, would really hate to keep paying rent through May of 2013. The only other option they cite in the contract is to renew the lease on a “monthly” basis this April, which is a cool $100 extra each month. And even with the “monthly” rate, I still have to give them 2 months’ written notice. In the event we don’t find a house we like by year’s end, I’d really hate to have thrown $1200 away for nothing *and* still have to give them 60 days advance warning (how is that even “monthly?”). My one friend who also lives in Maryland told me that her lease has a stipulation that if she breaks it, she pays $1200 or something along those lines up front to break it. That sounds like a far better option as that way we’d only pay the extra money if we find a house to move into. But would that look bad for credit scores etc? And what if my written lease agreement doesn’t say anything about breaking the contract? Is there always such a route even if not in writing?
Post # 3
In most cases you’d be required to pay out the length of your lease anyway if I’m not mistaken.
Post # 4
“In most cases you’d be required to pay out the length of your lease anyway if I’m not mistaken.”–this could very well be true.
I think it depends on the individual leasing agreement with each place. At my old place they had quite a waiting list of people wanting to move in. With a 60 day notice, you were out of the lease without any penalty. I only gave them 30 days’ notice, so ended up paying a pro-rated amount until they could get the apartment ready to move someone else in for the last month. I think it only took them a week, so I only owed a couple hundred dollars.
When my Darling Husband wanted to move out of his apartment because he bought the house we live in now, the penalty for breaking the lease was more expensive than just paying rent until the end of the agreement. So he moved into the house in September, but continued to pay rent on the apartment until February.
Post # 5
Most of the leases I have are similar to yours. If you are buying a house, a 60-90 day closing is fairly common, so I wouldn’t be worried about the notice you have to give.
As for breaking the lease, talk to your landlord. At once place I was in there was a similar contract, but the landlord knew that there were so many people trying to get into my building that he knew if I broke the lease it would easily be rented out again. The money they want you to payout is usually to cover the costs if they can’t rent it out for awhile.
I’d talk to your landlord and see what options he can provide. Let him know what your plans are and ask him to recommend what would be best for you. He doesn’t want to lose money and you won’t be the first person who has broken a lease to buy a house, so I’m sure he will have some suggestions.
Post # 6
It’ll totally depend on your leasing agreement. There should be a clause about it in the lease you signed, so read through it. For us, we would have to pay 2 months rent to break our lease early. In my previous apartment, they had a completely different penalty fee for breaking a lease. Just depends.
Post # 7
@mannarose630: That’s the weird thing. I looked the agreement over with a fine tooth comb and nothing about breaking the lease. That’s why I wondered if there’s a “default” amount in Maryland. If it’s not in writing, is it pretty much to the landlord’s whimsy?
Thanks for all responses thus far! It does seem people move in fairly soon after units are vacated, so we’ll see what the landlord says. Quite frankly, I’m really tired of this complex. They treat renters fairly badly, take forever to do repairs and never advocate for longterm tenants (and I’ve been here for 6 years now). So that’s why I wanted more objective advice before I went to the office. I don’t trust what they say. I’m thinking we’ll probably just do the month to month option just to give us more flexibility if the right house materializes in the coming fall/winter. I guess $1200 is a small price to pay for freedom!
Post # 8
I would contact your state’s landlord tenancy branch (or whatever they call it) as it does vary by jurisdiction.
Post # 9
Typically, if you break the lease you are legally liable for the rent for the entire period of the lease. The contract may not directly mention breaking the lease, but it probably does say that you are agreeing to rent the apartment for XX months at XX rent. Generally, if you want to move out before the lease is over, if you find someone else to take over the apartment, you can be off the hook.
Post # 10
Hmmm I’m surprised it doesn’t say anything!! Since the leas isn’t helping you, I would look over the tenant/landlord rights for your state (I forget the “official” name but every state has a legal handbook for leasing protection). Maybe each state has a default policy if one is not written directly into the lease. It might help to consult state guidelines before talking with the office – that way they can’t rip you off!
Post # 11
Post # 12
msfarenheit said what I was going to say. You could try to get someone to take over your lease, but you have to keep in mind that if there is no specific clause, then the contract is simplified. You rent that property for time period everyone agreed upon. You decide not to rent, you’re in violation. I own a house in another state and my tenant decided to buy a house rather than live in mine anymore, and thought that since there was no specific “This is how you leave early” clause, he was free to leave whenever. While it somehow worked out, I had every intention of going after the lost rent and claiming he had abandoned the property. Of course this was in Texas, and may be different from Maryland. While my lease was somewhat vanilla/standard, the landlords may have left it out on purpose so they don’t have to deal with people cutting out early. Not that it sounds like you owe it them or anything, if they’ve been so unhelpful and a general pain in the patootie. Good luck with everything!