Hey y’all, Abby Husbands here. I’m a realtor in Austin, Texas and today we’re going to go over how you can legally get out of your rental lease agreement. I have clients all the time who start looking for their home, and we either find one too soon or we don’t find one before their lease agreement expires so they go ahead and sign another year. When we do find their home their biggest question is, can they get out of their lease agreement legally. Well, good news, the answer is yes, you can get out of your lease agreement legally. Right now I’m going to go over the steps in which you can get out of your lease agreement.
#1. Pull out your lease agreement and see what it says. You should have a paragraph stating how you can legally get out of your lease. Typically they’re written pretty clearly in black and white, but if for some reason you’ve some shades of grey, or there’s something that you don’t understand #2. is call your landlord.
Your landlord can usually spell it out for you, and tell you exactly how you can get out of your lease agreement legally. You’re also giving them notice at the same time. Give them a heads up, be courteous. Your landlord is going to help you find a replacement, but they’re not going to know that you need a replacement unless you discuss it with them. Don’t leave the middle of the night. Don’t pack up your stuff and hit the road, and think it’s not going to affect your credit, or going to affect the way that you can lease something in the future because it absolutely will. So call your landlord and figure it out together.
#3. You may pay a reletting fee. In most instances, you will be charged every reletting fee, and the reletting fee is typically 85% of one month’s rent. Its been that way in Texas for a long time. So if your monthly rent is $1000, the reletting fee that you will pay to your landlord to break your lease early is $850, but that should be spelled out in your lease agreement. When you pay that reletting fee you’re also giving your landlord the heads up of your move out date, which will give them time to find your replacement. Your replacement and you can find them as well, but your replacement still has to pay the application fee, they still have to go through the background check and the credit check to make sure that they’re worthy.
#4. Look at it logically. If you only have two months left on your lease, maybe it would be better to stay, pay the last two months rent. Use that time moving out of your apartment or lease house. One thing to know is that you will not owe the reletting fee on top of your remaining rent. So you can’t be charged the reletting fee and your last two months rent.
Just call your landlord, work it out, go from there. You can find out all of the rules and regulations at TAA, which is the Texas Apartment Association. You should be able to locate the guidelines on how you can legally move out.
Something else to consider is if your landlord is also a realtor and lists your home for lease in MLS, starting from scratch they’re just going to release it for 12 months. Say you have four months left you may be responsible for paying the broker’s commission which is usually one month’s rent. The bottom line is call your landlord, work it out, and get it in writing.
Bottom line is yes you should be able to get out of your lease agreement. I have plenty of clients asking about this right now with the cost of our homes steadily increasing in Austin, Texas. It’s not getting any cheaper to buy a home, and with interest rates rising a lot of my clients are seriously considering breaking their lease agreement and buying a house now, as opposed to waiting another eight to six months when their lease is up.
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I’m a full-time Realtor®️ with a background in design & construction & I love all things real estate related. I’m lucky enough to live & work in Austin, TX. Check out more of my website & shoot me a message if you need help buying, selling, relocating, or investing in Austin real estate.
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This blog was transcribed using REV.