Getting your first place on your own is a big thing. You hunted to find where you wanted to live,
the neighborhood you wanted to be in, and just the right place for you. You saved up for the
deposits and carefully planned your budget. You just knew you were going to be in that place a
while, a home of your own. You signed a year’s lease, and moved in. Things were going great,
until you got laid off.
Breaking a lease agreement can cause a lot of repercussions. It is a legally binding agreement
between you and a landlord that state you will pay “x” amount of rent for “y” period of time on
a regular schedule. Most leases run for a year, sometimes that can vary depending on
circumstances. Most landlords require security deposits of one kind or another in varying
amounts. If you break a lease, it is unlikely you will get a refund.
There are a few things that Colorado does differently regarding breaking a lease, and some
circumstances where you are legally protected for having to do so. Starting active military duty
is one. Domestic violence is another reason Colorado will protect you when it is necessary to
break a lease. If the rental unit is unsafe, violates Colorado health codes, or if the landlord
harasses you or violates your privacy, you can usually break a lease without problem.
There are a few things you should do, and know, to make this change in your leasing status as
successful as possible, though. Try and give your landlord as much notice as possible. In
Colorado a landlord has the burden to try and find a new tenant to fill the remaining time on the
lease, and not charge you the balance of the lease costs. The court precedent was set based on
commercial property, but has been viewed as extending to residential.
Most landlords, if you are courteous, leave the place in good condition, and give them as much
notice as possible, will try and mitigate their losses and avoid expensive court costs trying to
collect the balance of the lease by getting the place rented as soon as possible. After all, broken
leases cost them money. If they are successful, you may get off the hook with only the deposits
being held and perhaps owing any down time between when you last paid rent and when the
place gets rented again.
A broken lease that is handled courteously and rented right away to offset the lost income often
will not affect your credit or be reported to tenant rental listings services. That is a big help
when you go to lease again. If they are, a second chance rental service might be able to get the
reference dropped from your reports for a fee if you have documentation to prove why you left
and written notices to the landlord. Taking advantage of that kind of a fix might be well worth it
in the future when you rent again or go to buy a home.
Some rental agencies specialize in Broken Lease Apartments and offer listings for landlords who
need to fill those suddenly empty apartments as soon as possible. Check your state and with
local apartment rental services and property management companies to see if they handle
broken lease apartments that need a new tenant. This can be especially helpful if you need a
short-term lease, such as when you are taking one semester at a different college and only need
to be there a few months.