If I'm Getting Married Can I Legally Break My Rental Lease?

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Some federal and state laws do allow a tenant to terminate his lease early. However, those laws don't support breaking a lease because of wedding plans. Nonetheless, people who plan ahead may be able to avoid legal trouble with their landlords by paying additional money to break a lease or turning over a lease to someone else.

Federal and State Laws

Federal law allows renters to break leases under certain circumstances, but state laws on breaking leases vary. Active military personnel can break leases under federal law to relocate for military service, according to the FindLaw website. FindLaw notes that some states also allow renters to break leases due to the relocation of their employer or because they need to move to a senior-citizen facility for care. Someone who wants to break a lease because of marriage plans generally needs to fulfill the terms outlined in the lease for terminating the rental agreement early.

Landlord Rights

A landlord can sue renters who break their leases due to marriage plans or other reasons that are unprotected by federal or state laws if the tenant doesn't settle the matter to the landlord's satisfaction. However, FindLaw indicates that landlords generally are required to attempt to find another tenant to alleviate the costs associated with a renter who breaks a lease agreement. Nonetheless, the landlord can sue the tenant to recover the rent lost during the time the rental property remained vacant even after a new tenant rents the property.

Termination Fees

People who want to break a lease because of marriage plans may have to pay high termination fees to avoid legal problems. Leases usually outline the fees associated with terminating a lease early. For example, an MSN real estate article by Sally Anderson notes that rental agreements may require tenants who terminate leases early to pay one or two months of additional rent and forfeit their security deposit to avoid further action by the landlord. However, sometimes a lease stipulates that a tenant who wants to terminate the rental agreement early has to continue paying rent until a new tenant rents the property.

Subleasing

One way to reduce the high costs and other problems associated with breaking a lease early because of wedding plans is to ask your landlord if you can find someone to take over your lease. The rental industry refers to this process as subleasing. Your lease may already outline terms associated with subleasing agreements, and some landlords may disallow such agreements. However, the MSN article notes that the original renter is still responsible for paying future rental payments if the person who takes over the lease fails to make payments as agreed. The original renter also can be required to pay for any property damage the new leaseholder may cause.

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