What happens when you break an apartment lease?

Life is unpredictable, so it isn’t surprising if your plans and needs might change during the course of your apartment lease. There are many reasons you might need to break a lease; however, by doing so, you may be violating the agreement you signed when you agreed to the lease in the first place. It’s important to remember there are certain penalties you will have to deal with when you break a lease. These include: 

  • Owe money. Depending on your individual lease agreement, you could be expected to pay broken lease fees (usually one to two months rent) or remaining rent due for the lease.
  • Lose your security deposit. If you put down a security deposit, you likely won’t get it back if you break your lease, and you might be expected to pay other penalties or fees.
  • Damage to your credit score. Breaking your lease can impact your credit score. If you don’t pay all of the fines or fees owed for breaking a lease early, your landlord may take you to small claims court or send the debt to a collection agency.
  • Negative rental history. When you go to rent your next place, they’ll typically want information about your previous landlord and rental history. Having a broken lease on your record may cause concern about your trustworthiness as a tenant.

You should always review your lease agreement for information about early releases and talk to your landlord prior to breaking your lease. This article will discuss circumstances where you might be able to avoid penalties when breaking your lease and whether or not renters insurance will pay for costs associated with early lease termination.

Can you avoid penalties for breaking a lease early?

There are certain circumstances where you might be able to break your lease without the penalties described above. These circumstances can vary by lease and by state, but may include:

  • Violation of health and safety codes. If you have problems such as insufficient bathroom ventilation, lack of running water, electrical problems, broken windows and pest infestations that your landlord refuses to or cannot fix, you may have a legal right to pursue lease termination.
  • Military service. If you are active duty military and are being relocated due to work, you can terminate your lease without penalty under the Civil Relief Act. 
  • Criminal activity. If there is criminal activity on the property and you feel unsafe, you can ask for lease termination.

If there are no safety concerns with your apartment or property and you simply need to move out earlier than the end of your lease, you might be able to avoid a penalty by finding someone to take over your lease (though this isn’t an option in all situations). You should also talk to your landlord or apartment management about your options to see if there is any flexibility when it comes to breaking your lease. 

Does renters insurance cover a broken lease?

Unfortunately, renters insurance will not cover financial penalties incurred due to a broken lease. It may, however, provide coverage for costs related to why you broke the lease, such as damages to the rental property or personal property losses. You should review your renters policy and speak with your insurance provider to understand what is and isn’t covered when you’re planning to end your lease early. SelectQuote’s licensed insurance agents can walk you through any questions you have about renters insurance coverage, making your next steps easier if you need to break your lease.

Let SelectQuote Answer Your Questions About Renters Insurance and Lease Termination

Renters insurance can provide peace of mind when you’re navigating unexpected situations related to your rented home or apartment. SelectQuote can review your current renters policy and help you understand your coverage so you’ll have one less thing to worry about if you’re planning to break a lease. We can also quickly update your renters insurance policy or find you all new coverage for wherever you move next.

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