Does breaking a lease affect your rental history? If you break a lease, will you ever be able to rent again? In short, the answer to both questions is yes. Breaking a lease can have a negative impact on your rental record. That said, there are steps you can take to help you find a new apartment successfully if you are in this situation.
What does breaking a lease really mean?
Breaking a lease is the process by which you terminate your lease before the date stated in your rental agreement. You might have to break a lease because you’re offered the job of your dreams in a new state, or you need to break up with a partner (or escape a roommate nightmare). While perfectly understandable reasons for breaking a lease can and do happen, renting after you’ve already broken a lease can lead to problems.
Potential consequences of breaking a lease
If you give up your rental unit before your lease expires and your landlord does not consent, that means you have broken your lease. This can make future rental even more difficult, with possible consequences, including:
- If your former landlord reports to one of the tenant assessment offices
- If your former landlord receives a judgment against you that is reported to the credit bureaus
- If you still owe your old rental company money
In fact, most rental companies won’t rent you if you owe money to another rental company. There is good news, however: if you don’t owe your old rental company money, or if you owe money but have paid it off, you’re less likely to see negative effects on your claim. current rental.
Most homeowners and property management companies will perform a credit check and background check. Breaking your lease can negatively impact your credit score and rental history. That said, you will find ways to explain or work around a bad rating on your rental history.
How to rent again after breaking a lease
Here are some strategies you can use when trying to rent after breaking a lease.
Talk to management
You cannot just ignore your past actions and hope that this problem will go away. Be proactive and talk to the owners or property managers of the apartments you are applying for. Be honest, frank, and polite. Speak directly to the owner or management, as a rental agent usually cannot bypass their rules without permission.
Explain why you broke your lease and assure them it won’t happen again. You can even write an official letter explaining the situation with supporting documents as proof.
You are better off talking openly to management about your previous situation instead of waiting for them to find out on their own, which they probably will. If that happens, you’ll just be wasting your time filling out an application that they won’t approve.
Resolve all impending issues
If you still have a debt, pay it off. If you can’t afford to pay off all of the debt immediately, ask if your former landlord can set up a repayment plan.
Either solution can increase your chances of getting approved for another rental unit. Your explanation for breaking that previous lease may also carry more weight if you can show that you have taken steps to pay back what you owe.
Offer a larger security deposit
Of course, parting with more of your hard earned money can be difficult. But offering a larger security deposit can make a difference if you’ve already broken your lease.
When you rent, you will usually have to pay the first month’s rent plus a security deposit equivalent to one month’s rent. You can offer to pay a larger security deposit if your honest explanation is not enough to convince your new landlord that you should rent again. Just keep in mind that some states cap how much a homeowner can charge for their security deposits, so this solution might not work everywhere.
Provide solid references to increase your chances of getting a new rental application approved. Offer letters of recommendation or contact information from landlords with whom you have had a positive experience before or after your lease is broken. Sharing this information with your new landlord or management company can help demonstrate that the breach of your lease was an isolated incident. You can also help your cause by sharing information about past or current employers who can vouch for you.
Find a co-signer or guarantor
A co-signer or guarantor can also help you secure your new rental. A surety is an outside person (such as a family member or friend) who agrees to take charge of your rent if you don’t pay it. A co-signer is an additional tenant in your unit who will also take legal responsibility for rent payments if you stop paying. Landlords can use these terms interchangeably, but overall you are giving them a fallback plan in case you break your lease.
Have flexible requirements
While breaking a lease doesn’t mean you will never be able to rent again, a bad credit and / or rental record makes it much more difficult to qualify for prime rental housing. As a result, you may need to relax your own requirements for your apartment search, perhaps moving to a different neighborhood or unit than you would otherwise want. Then stick to your lease, pay your rent on time, and build a better rental history. You will be in a better position the next time you look for an apartment.
Some landlords will accept already broken leases, others will not. A landlord willing to accept a bad rental history may always want to mitigate their risk with a higher monthly rent. Individual owners may be more likely to work with you than property management companies, which typically must meet specific criteria when approving applications.
If you think you need to move out of your current tenancy, there are a number of ways you can terminate a lease to make the process easier in the long run. If you’ve already broken a lease, there are several things you can do to help you re-lease.