Skip to Content

What Should I Do If My Tenant Breaks Their Lease?

Frustrated rental property tenants sitting on couch with cardboard boxes Did you know that most tenants who rent single-family homes choose long-term leases? That being said, life can be erratic, and tenants may have to leave earlier than expected. It’s always most suitable to have a plan in place, just in case.

Customary reasons for breaking a lease comprise job relocations, home buying, changing familial status, or military duty. It’s necessary to handle the situation ably and follow legal protocols.

Know and Follow the Law

When you and your tenant sign a lease, it’s substantial to call to mind that it’s a legally binding agreement. And so, you both have certain rights and responsibilities governed by state landlord-tenant and other federal laws. These laws are in place to secure that both you and your tenant are treated fairly. For instance, in some states, landlords are responsible for securing that the rental property is in good condition and must give notice to the tenant before ever entering the property.

Failing to meet landlord-entry regulations or respecting your tenant’s privacy can be legal grounds for lease termination in several states. Other reasons include military service, domestic violence, or uninhabitable property.

Lease Termination Clause

Including an early lease termination clause in your lease documents is a fine practice for any landlord, even while it is not necessary. Such a clause can help clarify the process a tenant may follow to break their lease agreement. In most situations, this includes granting a certain amount of advance notice, commonly 30 days, and perhaps paying an early termination fee. By having this clause in place, both the tenant and the landlord can avoid any confusion or misinterpretations if the tenant needs to terminate the lease early.

A clause in your lease documents bestows your tenant a way out if needed, and warrants that you do not struggle with financial hardship because of the broken lease.

After a Tenant Breaks a Lease

As a landlord, it’s essential to maintain cordial and respectful relationships with tenants, even if they happen to break the lease agreement. While it can be unfortunate when a tenant leaves before fulfilling their lease term, handling the situation professionally and amiably is very important. In such cases, it’s necessary to document the problem and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to resolve the matter and collect any outstanding dues.

It’s an appropriate idea to ask your tenant if you can inspect the property before they depart. This will help you identify any repairs that the tenant may be held responsible for and what you need to do to get the property ready for a new tenant. As with any tenant, you should calculate any unpaid rent and the cost of repairs and deduct them from their security deposit. It is necessary to keep exhaustive documentation of everything.

Send your tenant a written reminder explaining in clear terms their legal obligations under the terms of your lease agreement and what will happen if they don’t complete them. It’s rational to send this notice by certified mail to have a paper trail of your actions.

If you are dealing with a situation where your tenant is not paying the rent, you might have to go through a legal process to collect the owed rent and associated fees. This implies filing a civil lawsuit with your local court. It is relevant for you to present to the court that you have acted in a lawful and fair manner throughout the process, including all the plans and actions you took to re-rent the property.

Hire a Professional Property Manager

One great way to make certain that your rental business is fulfilled in a professional and legally compliant manner is by contracting the services of a reliable property management company. Such a company can help you navigate the complexities of property management and see to it that your rental property is managed well and transparently.

At Real Property Management Investor’s Choice, we work on your behalf in Bartlett and nearby to create the very best tenant relations and manage rather unexpected changes. Contact us online or call us at 615-810-9578 to discover more regarding this and our other quality services.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

The Neighborly Done Right Promise

The Neighborly Done Right Promise ® delivered by Real Property Management, a proud Neighborly company

When it comes to finding the right property manager for your investment property, you want to know that they stand behind their work and get the job done right – the first time. At Real Property Management we have the expertise, technology, and systems to manage your property the right way. We work hard to optimize your return on investment while preserving your asset and giving you peace of mind. Our highly trained and skilled team works hard so you can be sure your property's management will be Done Right.

Canada excluded. Services performed by independently owned and operated franchises.

See Full Details