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What Is an Early Lease Termination Letter?
An early lease termination letter is a document that is made by tenants who have decided to cancel or end their rental agreement before the agreed-upon end date. Although there are various reasons for the landlord to agree to the termination, there is no guarantee that a release will be granted as requested. According to MintLife, the period of May 15 to August 31 can be referred to as ‘peak moving season,’ where an estimate of 65% of the year’s moves take place. You may find yourself wanting to be a part of that statistic, but in order for you to do so, you will need to find perfectly legal reasons to convince your landlord to agree to an early lease termination without any penalties. Potential motivators that may allow a landlord to agree to this would be if, for example, the tenant lost his or her job, fell grievously ill, or any other circumstances that can prevent the tenant from paying rent.
The rising cost of homes can also serve as a factor as to why documents like early lease termination letters are used by tenants as often as they are. According to Consumer Affairs, “prices are up 6.2 percent in all 20 markets.” Those who cannot keep up with these prices often find that renting can be a much better choice, but even that is not without its own set of financial difficulties. As struggles continue to surface, more and more people are moving. Tenants can’t even be assured that they’ll be in a decent financial position by the time their lease ends, so many take the most advantageous opportunities they can find when they find it. Therefore, an appropriate and understandable thing to do at that point would be to try and end their standard lease agreement or room rental agreements early.
The Elements of an Early Lease Termination Letter
It should be noted that every early lease termination letter is going to include the same key elements. If you are thinking about creating one for your own purposes, then you need to familiarize yourself with those elements. Below is a list of each one and a few extra details. This can also apply to commercial leases and college room rental leases.
How to Write an Early Lease Termination Letter
Now that you know about the key elements, the next thing to learn would be the actual step-by-step process of writing the early lease termination letter. Look through the instructions below and allow it to guide you through the endeavor.
Step 1: Begin With a Standard Greeting
Start things off by first writing your name at the top of the letter, followed by your address. Then write the name and address of your landlord. When going for a standard greeting, it is essential that you come up with something like ‘Dear Mr./Ms.’ No matter how close or informal your interactions with each other may have been, this is still a legal document and must be treated with appropriate respect.
Step 2: State Your Intentions Clearly
The next step is to state your intention to terminate the lease prematurely. Write it in a language that is easy for anybody to understand and do not mince your words. With that said, it is essential to still be polite rather than curt. By not beating around the bush, you end up not wasting any time and you can move on quickly to the next step of the process.
Step 3: State the Reasons behind Your Intentions
Your landlord will want to know why you want to terminate the lease earlier than expected, so be transparent about your reasons. Regardless of how you think he or she will react and respond to it, be as honest as you can be. After all, the next step can help smoothen out any wrinkles that might develop as a direct result of your individual reasons.
Step 4: State The Miscellaneous Responsibilities to be Fulfilled
There is much that needs to be done besides simply requesting early termination. Inspections of the property need to be undertaken by the landlord, potential penalties must be discussed, keys need to be returned, and many more. Determine what you need to accomplish before you can be officially free of your lease and list them down here.
Step 5: Include Your Forwarding Address
Before you finish the letter, a crucial element to include is your forwarding address. This is where you tell your landlord that any and all further communications between the two of you will be sent to. That will also include where your deposit return will be sent.
Step 6: End With the Standard Closing
Wrap up your letter in a courteous manner. One way to do so would be to include ‘sincerely,’ to your letter and then follow it up with your name. This is also the part of the letter that must be signed by you personally when a printed copy is produced.
Step 7: Decide on How to Send the Letter
Many people prefer to have the letter printed out and delivered to their landlord. There are those who may want to deliver it to their landlords personally, but others may want to send it via certified mail. The latter can be preferable because it provides proof that the letter was received by the landlord within the time frame required. Still, there are those who may want to send it digitally via email, which is also a valid option.
The Dos and Don’ts of an Early Lease Termination Letter
Even those who are adequately knowledgeable and experienced with early lease termination letters may find themselves on the lookout for additional tips that can help raise the quality of their document. If you count yourself among them, then be assured that the following list of dos and don’ts will be more than pleasing to you. Each one provides an added benefit that will surely tip the odds of success in your favor.
Do stick to a business format.
Using a business format for your letter shows that you are respectful and serious enough to mean business. Your early lease termination letter is not only going to look neat but the format also makes it easier to organize. Few things are more irritating than a jumbled up, disorganized letter, and for documents like this, it is absolutely unacceptable.
Do try to appeal to your landlord for consent.
The success of your termination letter will depend on whether or not your landlord will consent to your stated request. Therefore, it is essential that you try to make your departure as appealing as possible. Find an angle that you can sink your teeth into and emphasize it in your letter. For example, the birth of a new family member might make your current lodgings rather cramped. In that scenario, also mention how the cries of the newborn may end up disturbing the neighbors, which would make your lease termination not only understandable but also desirable to your landlord who may want as much peace and quiet as possible.
Do stick to a positive tone.
There is a strong possibility that any letter of this kind will be motivated by negative reasons as much as positive ones. Even in the face of unacceptable circumstances, it is wiser to create a letter in a neutral, if not positive, tone. Doing so will show that no matter how bad your experience with the property was, there are no hard feelings between you and the landlord. In the event that there is also bad blood between you, keeping things positive is a sign of high-quality character and may lead to potential reconciliation down the line. Lastly, it is simply a more respectful route to take and will pave the way for equally positive responses from your landlord.
Do acknowledge the penalties, if there are any.
There are going to be times when your early lease termination comes with certain penalties that need to be dealt with, depending on the agreement between you and the landlord. You may be tempted to try and sweep it under the rug or at least keep quiet about it in your letter, but a wise move would be to acknowledge it. Doing so shows that you are willing to own up and take responsibility for any consequences your decision may yield. Should your landlord still be on the fence about whether to grant your request or not, your sense of responsibility and integrity may win him or her over.
Do remind the landlord about your security deposit.
Although it is not likely for your landlord to forget, it is worth mentioning the security deposit in your letter. This will not only serve as a reminder in the event that it has been forgotten about but also as proof of something that is owed to you.
Do not neglect to ask for a property inspection.
One thing that should not be neglected by any landlord whose tenants are about to vacate the rented property is to conduct a property inspection. Likewise, the tenant should not forget about requesting this in the first place. By being proactive in being the one to bring up the topic in your early lease termination letter, you can ease any concern or anxiety the landlord may have had over your occupancy and subsequent desire to leave early. Basically, it shows that you have nothing to hide. This is the combined display of confidence, responsibility, and transparency that can go a long way in helping you secure the consent of your landlord to allow your lease an early termination.
Do not neglect to acknowledge your willingness to pay the penalties.
As stated in the ‘do’ list above, acknowledging the penalties, if there are any, is the right way to go. However, if you want to take things a step further in that direction, you can also express your willingness to go through with those penalties. It is more or less the next logical step and one that is implicitly expected from you anyway.
Do not make your letter unnecessarily long.
Various types of business or legal documents are already so long that most are reluctant to even try to go through them once. When it comes to your early lease termination letter, this does not have to be the case. When formatting and coming up with the contents of your letter, it is recommended that you keep it direct and brief. Any reader—such as your landlord—will appreciate the length since it will make it a much easier read and will take up far less of their personal time in doing so. A relatively short letter also means far less unnecessary or irrelevant content, which is an entirely different problem in its own right.
Do not forget to proofread.
Mistakes are going to be expected, especially when something is written in a hurry or for those who have just come up with their first drafts. However, when it comes to final drafts, mistakes like spelling errors, misplaced punctuations, terrible grammar, and inaccurate information are far from acceptable. It pays to be detail-oriented concerning the writing of any business or legal document. Reread what you have written after each draft and then take the time to seek out avoidable mistakes. Failing to do so would look badly on you at best and may lead to legal disaster between you and your landlord at worst.
Do not forget to keep a copy for yourself.
Be aware that you are not likely to get back any legal document that you submit in situations like this. As a record or for future reference, it would be a wise move on your part to have a copy of your early lease termination letter. In doing so, you can help save yourself from any trouble that may arise out of this situation. Disagreements with your landlord over particular details concerning your lease can be made easier to diffuse if you have your own copy of the letter to serve as potential evidence or documentation.
As you can clearly see for yourself, even a document with a simple subject such as moving out earlier than initially expressed or expected comes with its own fair share of nuances. There is often a lot of work to be done in such circumstances, but if you decide that you do not want to start from scratch, then there are numerous online resources for you to take advantage of. One last piece of advice would be to get early termination of lease templates that resemble your situation the most so that the edits do not have to be too extensive on your part.