Early Termination of Lease

Authored By: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
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You should read your lease carefully to see if it allows you to move out before your lease expires, and, if it does, what sort of notice to your landlord is required. Landlords can charge you a reasonable "reletting fee" for the cost of getting the unit ready for a new tenant and having to redo the paperwork. The fee must be a reasonable amount to cover the landlord's actual expenses, not a high fee that is actually a penalty. If a new tenant is not found, a landlord may charge you for the total rent owed until the lease expires. However, the landlord must make a real effort to find a new tenant. If the landlord sues you for breaking the lease, you may have to pay rent for all the time the unit was vacant up to the date your lease would have expired. If you want to terminate your lease early, you should at least give the landlord written notice of your intentions to leave. Giving notice may enable the landlord to find another tenant before you actually move out. You may also find someone else to rent your unit, but your landlord must approve to the new tenant. Contact the landlord to see if you can reach an agreement. If you are able to work something out, be sure to get the agreement in writing, with both your signatures, and be sure to keep receipts for any payments.
Last Review and Update: Jul 13, 2010