Planning to leave your dwelling before the end of your lease? Not so fast, my friend. If you have signed a lease and you wish to move out before the date that the lease is finished, you may choose to assign your lease to a new tenant. Contrary to popular belief, a tenant may not simply give their landlord notice and move out. A lease is actually very difficult to break, it requires consent from both the tenant and the landlord, and generally landlords will not simply cancel a lease without charging a sizable penalty fee. Furthermore, just because the landlord is not upholding the responsibilities as indicated in the lease, it does not give the tenant grounds to simply move out. For more information on how to address problems with the Landlord or within the apartment, see How to write a Legal Demand Letter.
If you wish to move out, and your apartment is in reasonable condition, you may decide to assign your lease, which means transferring all of your responsibilities to a new tenant, who will take over the lease. Assigning the lease successfully means that you figuratively cross your name off the lease and replace it with a new tenant’s. Here are the steps:
- Post an ad for your apartment online, indicating that it is available for a lease transfer. Include a detailed description of the place, and add photos!
- Have interested applicants come see the place. It is important to choose a responsible new tenant who you believe will pay rent. To assist your application, you may want to ask a candidate to perform a credit check as this may expedite the process, by assuring the landlord that the new tenant can fulfill the obligations of the lease.
- Complete the Notice to Assign the Lease, and send it with a completed credit check if you choose, via registered mail to your landlord. The landlord has 15 days to respond, technically he is only allowed to refuse the transfer with “good reason” aka, evidence that the candidate cannot pay the rent. If the Landlord does not send back an official response within 15 days, the Lease Transfer is automatically approved.
- Sign an Assignment of Lease Agreement between you and the new tenant. This will include the details, affirmations and conditions involved in transferring your lease.
- If the transfer goes through, leave your copy of the original Lease with the new tenant, and move out!
What if the Landlord refuses my applicant?