|When A Tenant Wants To Break A Lease...
There as many reasons a person may want to break a lease early as there are renters. Some are legitimate and some are not. But while there are a few exceptions to legally breaking a lease (government and military service) most people do not have a reason that would excuse them from keeping the rent payments until their lease is official complete. However there are a few things that can be utilized by landlords in order to keep peace, minimize legal fees, and generally keep a good reputation.
In some cases, your renters may not know the exact terms of the lease. Providing them in writing, or even better, in person along with a copy of their lease and reviewing the actual details of the lease may help them to reconsider leaving earlier than the lease end date. During some personal circumstances such as a divorce, breakup, or death of a partner, there can be devastating financial implications for the renter that you may not have been aware of, or this could be a good time to re-negotiate something more feasible for the renter until another suitable renter is found.
In the case of a renter having to re-locate because they simply can no longer afford the rent because of a job loss, or other financial reason, it may be in your best interest to negotiate with them on the terms of the lease. Finding a new renter as quickly as possible can be a daunting task for any landlord, however if you can turn your would-be-lease-breaker into an advertising medium, it could be a win-win for both parties. Agreeing to terminate a lease early if the renter helps find a suitable renter before their own lease term is up, is a great way to start the process that does not involve you paying legal fees, and going through the eviction process, and can give the landlord peace of mind knowing their current tenant will be leaving regardless.
In some cases however with multi-unit apartment buildings with far too many units to have a one-to-one relationship with, it's may be best to lay out the terms of the agreement up front with "lease breaking" being a primary part of your initial sales process when finding new renters. Ultimately, a lease is a binding legal document which gives the landlord the ultimate right to collect what was promised them, but as stated above, following some basic communication principals concerning expectations and rights can go a long way in never having sticky situations for you or your renters.