What Options Do I Have if My Tenant Needs to Break Their Lease?

What Options Do I Have if My Tenant Needs to Break Their Lease?

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What Options Do I Have if My Tenant Needs to Break Their Lease?


Some of the best property management advice you’ll ever receive is simply to plan on bad things happening. No matter how lucky you are, something will inevitably go wrong and cause you to need a backup plan.  It’s how you prepare for these contingencies that will ensure the long-term profitability of your Utah rental property.


One of these inevitabilities is when your “perfect tenant” needs to move out early. Unfortunately, this situation is not uncommon, and you need to protect your investment. Here is a list of options available to you:


1) Include a lease buy-out clause – One easy solution is to include a lease buy-out clause in your rental agreement. This clause is essentially a dollar amount you set to allow the tenant to exit their current lease with no further obligations. This figure is typically set between one and three months rent. This strategy is a bit risky though, since you are basically wagering that it will not take you very long to re-rent the property. If you end up with a prolonged vacancy however, your buy-out amount may not cover your losses in rental income.


2) Allow them to find a replacement tenant – This is where you allow them to find someone else to move in and take over the lease. This can be a good option, but be careful. You must provide them with your rental criteria and inform them anyone they find will be measured against it. Also, be sure to receive a signed lease and deposit from the replacement tenant before allowing your existing renter out of their lease. The upside here is your renter will do much of the work, but make sure they know you are in control.


3) Charge your tenant the cost of re-renting – In this option, you can simply charge your tenant the costs you incur while trying to re-rent. These include unpaid rent, marketing expenses, cleaning and labor costs, as well as any damages. However, you must actively try to re-rent your property because you are legally obligated to minimize these expenses to your former tenant.


Whichever option you choose is up to you, and there is no “correct” answer. Each option will have its pros and cons, but what’s important is that you have a plan. Planning ahead and remaining flexible will always help you adjust to whatever challenges may be thrown at you.