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  • Writer's pictureJivko Stefanov

How to Handle a Tenant Who Tries to Break a Lease

Your Tenant Wants to Break a Lease? Oh No!

A tenant who tries to break a lease in New Jersey could be a headache for real estate investors and property managers. A tenant who wants to break a lease is something you will inevitably face during your real estate investment career, so there are ways that you can prepare.

What Can I Do if a Tenant Tries to Break a Lease?

Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

As a landlord in New Jersey, you have to know your landlord rights and tenant laws in New Jersey and be prepared to defend yourself.[1] A rock-solid lease agreement is the first thing you can rely on.

Some lease agreements have a part about ending an agreement early and an early termination fee for breaking a lease. If you don’t have this in your agreement, rest easy; there are still several options available.

What to Include in an Early Termination of Lease Clause

Here are some of the most important thing you should address in the lease termination in New Jersey:

  • A minimum notice for a tenant to request an early termination of the lease (60-90 days is recommended)

  • Notice must be written and signed by all tenants involved in the termination

  • Cost of the early termination fee

  • The landlord will officially consider the lease terminated after receipt of the signed notice and early termination fee

  • All other rent for prior months or charges owed will be paid prior to the tenant(s) vacating

  • If the tenant does not follow the process, vacate before the agreed date, pay the termination fee, pay other incurred charges, or any combination of the mentioned, the attempted early termination will be void, and every other aspect of the lease will apply

I Don’t Have an Early Termination Fee and My Tenant Wants Out

This is where lease assignments and sublease agreements come into play. A lease assignment is when a tenant assigns all responsibilities of their lease agreement to a new lessor. You’ll want to vet that lessor as they are essentially a brand new tenant. The new tenant pays their security deposit owed to the vacating tenant (essentially buying them out).

A subLease agreement is where the original tenant is still on the lease and responsible for all rent and lease obligations, but they sublease their apartment out to someone else. That person pays rent on their behalf, but all of the risks are still on the original tenant. We prefer this option because it forces the tenant to find someone responsible.

There is more to owning rental property than just collecting rent. As one of the trusts property management companies in NJ we have several procedures in place for situations like this and we handle several every year. These issues are not a major problem, but if you think you’re biting off more than you can chew, maybe it’s time for you to hire someone to take care of property management in New Jersey. You can count on the professionals at Tverdov Housing to help you out. Contact us today! (732) 344-0701


[1] NOLO – Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in New Jersey

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