Everywhere you turn you hear the words, “historically low-interest rates”, “now is the time to buy your dream home”.  So you’ve saved up for your down payment, improved your credit score and you’re pre-approved for your mortgage, but what happens if you still have a significant amount of time still left on your lease?

Much of your ability to end a lease depends on your particular landlord’s early termination policy, but there is good news.

There are ways to break your lease agreement early.  First and foremost, read your lease.  Your lease may contain an “opt-out” clause, which may allow you to end the lease early in exchange for a fee. Even if it doesn’t have such a provision, read it anyway – you’ll become more educated and may find another way to work with your landlord to wriggle out of your lease.

  • Talk to your landlord.  You will never know if they are willing to let you out early unless you ask.
  • Find a new tenant. Even better than just going to your landlord with your problem – help them find a solution.

Tenant’s also have rights.  Keep in mind that the rules that apply will vary from state to state.

Tenant’s Right to Break a Rental Lease in Arizona include, but are not limited to:

  • You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence
  • You Are Starting Active Military Duty
  • The Rental Unit Is Unsafe or Violates Arizona Health or Safety Codes
  • Your Landlord Harasses You or Violates Your Privacy Rights

And lastly, in Arizona landlords have a duty to find new tenants.  If you don’t have a legal justification to break your lease, the good news is that you may still be off the hook for paying all the rent due for the remaining lease term. This is because under Arizona law (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1370), your landlord must make reasonable efforts to re-rent your unit—no matter what your reason for leaving—rather than charge you for the total remaining rent due under the lease.

You are never really stuck in a lease, consider all of your options, but whatever you do, never walk away.  With rents rising and mortgage rates falling, now is the time to step into home ownership.