No one signs an apartment lease with the intention of breaking it, but sometimes life can make it difficult to honor a rental agreement. Perhaps you ran into financial difficulties or had to move quickly to take advantage of a great job offer. Whatever the reason, once you’ve broken a lease, you may wonder if a landlord will trust you again. Breaking a lease puts a black mark on your name, but it is possible to rebuild your rental reputation. These tips will show you how to get an apartment with a broken lease.
Pay any amount owed
If you owe your former landlord money for rent or damages, pay it back at the earliest available opportunity. Most rental management companies won’t rent you if you have money overdue on a previous rental. Once you repay the money, you’ll have a much better chance of getting an apartment with a broken lease in your past. If you can’t afford to pay the full amount owed, make a payment plan that you can stick to.
Be honest with decision makers
Your broken lease will show up in your rental history whether you like it or not, so you need to be honest about it up front. Explaining the circumstances surrounding your broken lease can help your case. Talk to the owner or manager of the property, as rental agents cannot break the rules. Be polite and clear about why you broke your lease, and then promise it won’t happen again. If you’ve taken steps to make sure you don’t break a new lease, explain to them what they are to appease the owner’s mind.
Request private rentals
When you apply for a private rental, you are dealing directly with the owner of the property. Private owners are often more understanding of personal circumstances and willing to bend their rules. If the owner has a good impression of you, they might not even do a credit check or call your references.
If someone is happy to let you rent an apartment with a broken lease, don’t rush into signing the contract. Be sure to inspect the property and research the neighborhood carefully. Sometimes owners skip formalities because their apartment or location is in trouble.
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Get people to vouch for your character
Even after talking to the owner or manager of the rental property company, they don’t really know who you are. Having people to vouch for your character can make your candidacy much stronger. Ask those who know you personally and professionally if you can list them as character references on your application. The people you choose should know you well and have a good reputation in the community. Provide them with this easy-to-use rental reference template and have them vouch for your character.
Have someone co-sign for you
Homeowners and property management companies care about their bottom line, so having a loved one with a good credit history co-sign your application can help push the line. If you happen to break your lease or miss rent payments, your co-signer promises to pay your debts. So, anyone who co-signs for you is doing you a financial favor, and they hope that your commitment matches the risk they are taking. Breaking this new lease will hurt their credit and could affect your relationship with them.
Offer to pay a larger deposit
It can be difficult if you owed a previous owner money, but offering to pay a larger deposit can help secure an apartment. Paying more up front shows that you are serious about your new rental agreement and that you are financially stable.
Some states have a cap on how much landlords can charge tenants for a security deposit, so make sure you know the rules in your area. Offer up to the maximum allowed to sweeten the deal. If larger deposits aren’t allowed, consider other ways to gain the landlord’s trust, such as signing a long lease or paying more rent up front.
Consider your priorities
Luxury rental properties have many applications. With many tenants to choose from, owners of these rentals will likely choose applicants with clean rental histories. If you broaden your horizons and consider other options, you will likely find more rentals available. Check out older apartments and properties outside of real estate hot spots. The apartment you are securing may not be your dream, but it doesn’t have to be. Getting a foothold in the rental market allows you to rebuild your rental reputation so you get something better next time.
Minimize the risk of breach of your lease
The more you terminate your lease, the worse it appears on your file. Once you have given your word to a new landlord that you are going to hold a new lease, it will be in your best interest to do so. Fortunately, when you enter into a new rental agreement, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of breaking the rental agreement.
Make sure you are sure you want the property in the first place. Try to inspect your apartment in person. But if you can’t, organize a virtual tour. If you are new to the area, spend some time in the neighborhood to confirm that you want to live there. When you’re happy with your rental, you’re less likely to break your lease.
Make sure you have savings that you can use to pay your rent if you lose your job or face unexpected bills. If you don’t have your own nest egg, see if your family will lend you the money so you can stay in your apartment until the lease ends.
If a long-term lease intimidates you, see if you can negotiate a shorter contract. If the property has been on the market for a while, the owner can agree to a much shorter term.
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