What to Expect if You Have a Broken Lease With an Apartment

I have a broken lease!

The vast majority of apartments will not work with you if you owe another rental property money or break a rental lease. The properties that will work with you have different qualifying criteria. Almost without exception the property will want to know you have re-established your rental history. A few of them will want extra deposits and it’s usually dependent on how much you owe the property you broke your lease at. Apartments can go back to the beginning of time when verifying rental history. Even owing a property 10 years ago can easily get you denied.

I have a broken lease out of state!

Once a broken lease is reported to the credit bureau it will show up no matter where you are. If you owe a property money most of them will not work with you. In effect a broken lease out of state is the same as a broken lease with a local apartment Your options will remain the same…make payment arrangements or go to a property that will work with you.

I do not have a broken lease, but I owe a property money!

Usually that means you owe a cleaning fee are something along those lines. Again… apartments not work with you. But usually the amounts owed aren’t that much and you can make arrangements to get them paid off.

I have a broken lease. but my credit is good!

Many apartments especially newer ones, use a point system like Saferent or Credit Retriever. If you score in the except range and your background checks out some of them will work with you. But most apartments will automatically deny you if you owe another property money.

I have more than one broken lease!

Difficult… but not quite impossible. They will hit you with an extra deposit and might require a co-signer. The extra deposit can be as much as a months rent. Sometimes first and last months. Very few apartments will do this.

I have a broken lease and rough credit!

There are a small number of apartments that will work with you but you must have re-established your rental history and it must be verifiable. Living with your mom, aunt, cousin or uncle may not count as rental history in many rental properties. Just because you are not currently on a lease d does not mean you d do not have verifiable rental history.

I do not have a broken lease, but my roommate or spouse does!

Most rental properties will not put your roommate on as an occupant. Everyone over 18 occupying the apartment must be on the lease and qualify to live there. You could easily be denied. There are still a few properties out there that will work with an occupant situation but there getting harder and harder to find. Its ridiculous when people making $50,000 to $100,000 a year can’t qualify for a $500 a month apartment… but its a fact.

I have an eviction!

This is a bigger problem than a broken lease. Even apartments that will work with a broken lease may not touch an eviction. The reason is they had to take you to court. This is a major expense for properties, not to mention a hassle.

I am in a lease right now and I want to break it!

Stop…take a deep breath. Are you sure that’s what you want to do? Breaking a lease with an apartment in is a major cause of denials and severely limits the number of rental properties you will qualify for. It will stay on your credit forever, are until you take care of it, and of course, you will be denied at most places you go to.

What are payment arrangements?

Before your broken lease goes to collections you have a window of opportunity to make arrangements to pay your lease off in small AFFORDABLE payments. The manager will give you a letter saying that your making arrangements and many apartments will work with you. There are many, many properties that will insist it be paid in full before they will work with you.

I have made payment arrangements. Why was I denied?

Most rental properties want your broken lease paid in full before they will accept you. Luckily there are some properties that will work with payment arrangements. What this means is you go back to the property you broke your lease at and tell them you want to pay off your broken lease. The arrangements can be $20, $30, $50 a month, and maybe more. Whatever you agree on with the property manager. NEGOTIATE… Make your first payment and get a letter stating that you have made arrangements to pay off your broken lease. Then with that letter… you can go to the apartments that will work with you. It is important that you continue making payments or the property will put it right back on your credit.

I co-signed for a friend and they skipped on the rent!

You have a broken lease….sorry! You can dispute it on your credit or hunt down your friend and have them make payment arrangements. But you are responsible from the apartment’s viewpoint.

How to legally break a lease.

If your in the military and being transferred or re-deployed …no problem!. Otherwise, you will have to pay a re-let fee. Usually 85% of a months rent. Sometimes you will have to pay back concessions as well. (say you got $250.00 off your first months rent) Many apartments in will hold you responsible for the rent until it is leased again. That’s the scary part … be sure and clarify that with the manager. No property can collect 2 rents on the same unit at the same time. Talk with your apartment manager and be crystal clear that you understand their policies regarding re-let fees.

I am getting mail from a collection agency concerning my broken lease!

This means it has been reported to the credit bureau and is now on your credit report. Your broken lease is official. You will have to pay it off, make payment arrangements or find a rental property that will work with you. When you find yourself here you almost have to work with a apartment locator or realtor.

I broke a lease but I had a very good reason too!

For all practical purposes an apartment lease is ironclad…. let me repeat that…IRONCLAD. If you absolutely have to break an apartment lease agreement, talk to your manager or landlord first, explain your situation and try and make payment arrangements with them. Most of them understand and will work with you. Some of them will bend over backwards. Property managers can be sympathetic but remember they have heard it all. There are procedures they must follow to the letter of the law. That’s why most of them cannot take partial payments (all though many will… for a while.) In practical terms most people break a lease because they lose their job are or getting a divorce. Sometimes a family member gets sick. Sometimes its an abusive situation. Sad as it may be… none of these things will matter if you do not fulfill the terms of your lease agreement….sorry.

Somebody broke into my car and I left!

Nobody wants to live in fear, but an apartment lease agreement is ironclad. That means you will end up with a broken lease. I have seen apartment managers let people out, but usually it’s just one of those unfortunate things, from the apartments point of view. Definitely tell the manager and call the police. Whatever happens will be at the manager’s discretion. Be thorough and have documentation when you talk to him/her.

They said I did not give a 30 day notice!

Apartments are very strict about this. You must give proper notice and they must know you have given proper notice. Write it, date it and make an extra copy for your records. DO NOT JUST DROP IT IN THE NIGHTBOX. In spite of the fact you have fulfilled the time on your lease you could still end up with a broken lease because you didn’t give proper notice. Worse still…you could be denied at the next property your looking at. Most properties want you to give notice no later then the 3rd. There are quite a number of apartments that make you give a 60 day notice . Be sure you know exactly what the policy is. Oh…and one more thing! Just because you have lived there five years, paid your rent on time and have been an ideal tenant, do not think they cant break your lease without proper notice.