A lease agreement is legally binding, requiring both the landlord and the tenant to follow the terms of the contract. Typically, the length of a lease is one year. Tenants promise to live in the property and pay the rent for that full year, and landlords promise to provide a habitable, well-maintained home at a consistent rental rate for that period.
However, tenants may not always be able to fulfill the requirements of that lease. They might need to leave early in order to relocate, because of divorce, or to accept military orders. Sometimes a lease is broken simply because the tenant can no longer afford to pay rent.
Breaking a lease agreement comes with legal and financial consequences. Landlords can withhold the tenant’s security deposit, bring a lawsuit for rental property damages, and report them to credit bureaus. It means a loss of rent, and that has financial repercussions for St. Louis rental property owners.
Tenants will still be liable for the rent if their reasons for breaking the lease are not legally justifiable.
Both parties need to understand their costs and responsibilities when it comes to breaking a lease agreement.
Breaking a St. Louis Lease Agreement: When is it Justified?
There are basically three reasons a tenant can break the lease without any penalties. These are:
- Active duty military orders require relocation.
- The property is not habitable, violating Missouri state standards.
- Landlord is harassing the tenant or violating their privacy.
If any of these conditions can be met, tenants are permitted to vacate the property without penalty.
St. Louis Tenant Financial Requirements during Lease Breaks
Typically, when tenants break a lease early, they are required to continue paying the remaining rent for the lease period until the term ends. For a tenant who is leaving one or two months before the end of the lease term, this may be a penalty that’s worth paying. However, residents who are only halfway through their lease term may find these financial responsibilities difficult to meet.
Communication between tenants and landlords is critical when there’s a lease break. Tenants who want to save money will be smart to work with their landlord. Good residents know they can minimize what they’ll have to pay by providing as much notice as possible and documenting the reason for leaving early. Making the home available to show prospective new tenants can help get it rented faster.
St. Louis Landlord Responsibilities during Lease Breaks
Landlords will typically use the tenant’s security deposit before asking for any additional rent when a lease is broken.
Rental property owners are also required to work quickly to find a replacement tenant. This is in the best interests of both the tenant and the landlord. As soon as that new tenant is approved and begins paying rent, the tenant who broke the lease is no longer financially responsible for paying rent on that property. That works out best for the departing tenant. Landlords also benefit because they don’t have to worry about a vacant home and a former tenant who refuses to fulfill or cannot fulfill the additional financial obligations.
A lease break is inconvenient and expensive, but the situation can be mitigated. Good landlord and tenant relationships or expert St. Louis property management will always help. If you’re facing this situation, contact us at Amoso Properties and we’ll do what we can to help you.