Can I Rent My Apartment to Get Out of My Lease Early?August 11th, 2009 by Emily Gojko
At some point in your life as a renter, the situation may present itself that you need to move out of your apartment before your apartment lease has expired. Often, the early termination of a rental agreement results in expensive penalties or the loss of your security deposit; so you may ask yourself, “Can I rent out my apartment?” This is called a sublet or sublease.
Sublets are a great solution when you need to get out of a long-term rental, but you need to be smart and educated about sublets before you make that decision. Follow these guidelines to help you decide if getting out of your apartment lease early by use of a sublet situation is the right choice for you.
Make Sure It’s Legal
This is perhaps the most important consideration to make. Check your lease agreement to see if it contains any provisions regarding subletting. Some rental agreements simply do not allow subletting. Others have specific conditions that must be met and followed in order to sublet your apartment. You will have to either renegotiate your lease agreement (which can end up costing you more in rent), figure out if the penalties for early lease termination are really going to break your bank, or find some way to stay in your unit until your lease is up. Renting your apartment or house out when your lease specifically disallows it is illegal, and will result in penalties, fines and legal fees way over and above those incurred for early termination.
If your apartment lease does allow you to rent your apartment, then proceed. If you aren’t sure, check with your landlord or property management company.
Protect Yourself with an Apartment Lease
You have now made the decision to rent out your apartment. Now you are a landlord. Consequently, you need to protect yourself with an apartment lease. The lease should contain the same provisions and regulations as the lease you signed. You are still ultimately responsible for the unit, so you want to be covered. If there is a contract violation caused by your tenant, the landlord will come to you for resolution. You need to have a lease agreement with your tenant so that you, in turn, will be able to go to them for resolution. Another important thing to remember is that the lease term should match the amount of time remaining in your apartment lease.
Screen Your Tenants
Don’t jump on the first possible tenants you meet. You may be excited to move out of the apartment, but you need to be careful about the tenants that you choose to rent your apartment. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for the apartment, so you need to choose tenants that are themselves responsible. Perform credit and background checks to properly screen your tenants, and require both professional and personal references. Make sure you actually check the references too.
“Can I rent out my apartment to get out of my lease early?” The short answer is: as long as you keep it legal, and keep yourself protected.