Most renters tend to make plans for the next 12 to 18 months.

However, sometimes life throws you something unexpected that changes your whole plan.

You’ve been offered a better job in a new state, or you’re expecting a new baby and need more room. Whatever the situation, the thought of breaking your lease is keeping you up at night.

Before you forfeit your deposit and end up owing the remaining rent owed on your lease, it is good to know your options. You can then discuss them with your landlord or property manager to manage the expense of breaking your lease.

Share Your Situation with Your Landlord

If your life has changed or you have a problem with the property, don’t assume you have to deal with it alone.

Start by talking to the landlord or property manager. We may live in a world of emails and digital communication, but a face to face discussion can be more beneficial than an email exchange. Be concise and clear when you inform them about your circumstances and why you are unhappy or are in need of a change.

Before knocking on your landlord’s door or making an appointment with your property manager, carefully think your situation through and decide whether you really need to quit your lease.

Some problems can be worked out with the manager. If your roommate is leaving and you will struggle to afford the rent by yourself, the property has some issues or the noisy neighbors are contributing to a miserable living situation, your manager should be able to work with you to help fix the issue.

Property managers and landlords are used to having to deal with these types of problems and will most likely have some sort of operational framework in place to help resolve them, whether it be unpleasant noisy neighbors or issues with the property itself.

Let them know what is making you unhappy and you may be surprised at how quickly the issue can be resolved, without having to break your lease.

Consider Your Alternatives

After you have spoken to your landlord or property manager, you may both decide that it is necessary that you quit your lease. However, you can then work through your available options.

Depending on the size of the company that is managing the property and the terms of your lease agreement, you might have several options available to you.

If you require more room or need to downsize, you may be able to move into another property in your building. This can be an easy and attractive option if you are expecting a baby and will need more room in your home, or if your roommate has left the apartment and you require less space and more affordable accommodations.

You can also check to see if your landlord or property management team has another property available at a different location. If you need to relocate for your job, it could be that your property management company owns buildings in other states and there is an option that you can transfer.

However, depending on state tenant laws, your lease terms or tenancy agreement, some of these changes to your lease may involve fees.

Always go back to your lease and see what those fees are before requesting a change.

Make Sure to Negotiate the Lease

Although you may have options later on, the best way to avoid breaking your lease is to make sure you negotiate before you agree to the rental terms.

If you are considering buying a house in the near future, it would be worth trying to include a mortgage clause. The length of time to complete the purchase of a property can be unpredictable, especially with a short-sale home. It is a good idea to have a flexible lease that won’t hit you with heavy fines should you need to stay longer or leave earlier than the term.

If your job requires you to relocate, you can negotiate a clause in the lease that covers relocation. Many leases include a “transfer clause” that states a transfer greater than seventy-five miles from the property can terminate the lease. Just be prepared to show documentation of your transfer from your employer.

There are also other legal situations that allow a tenant to break a lease with limited impact. If you are going this route, makes sure to consult a professional.

In the end, you can’t predict how life will change, however with planning you can ask for a lease that will minimize the impact.