When ending the lease early, a written lease termination letter can formalize your request. Once sent, this written notice can be acknowledged by either the landlord or tenant, and can then use it as proof of the termination. To assist you, FormsPal offers a free and fully-editable early lease termination letter template below.
When to use an early lease termination letter
Though both parties may be living amicably, there are many reasons why early lease termination letters will be needed. For the tenant, it may be one of the following:
Personal Reasons for an Early Lease Termination
- The tenant’s job prompts him or her to relocate and lease another property in a different area
- The tenant may be undergoing big lifestyle changes (getting married, getting pets, etc.)
- The tenant has an emergency situation (e.g. must return home to tend to their family)
- The tenant and landlord constant argue
Legal Reasons for an Early Lease Termination
- The tenant will be serving in the military
- The lease contract may have been breached by the landlord who shows no intent to make amends
- There is negligence for safety (e.g. a rotten tree remains standing on a shared area within the property) on the part of the landlord.
- The property may no longer be in a livable condition due to a natural cause, fire, or its normal wear-and-tear for which it has to be condemned. In this case, the eviction process is normally sped up and become favorable to the tenant.
- The tenant may have experienced health issues while living on the property (where the use of lead-based paint was not declared by the landlord).
- The tenant is a victim of domestic violence.
Whether the choice to end the lease is reasonable or not, the tenant still has the last say whether to write that letter or not. The landlord may only withhold the tenant’s deposit depending on the conditions stated in the lease agreement.
How to Terminate The Lease Early
Step 1— Refer back to the original lease agreement.
It is always important to check old lease agreements for any guidelines regarding breaking a lease. Oftentimes, an early lease termination has its consequences wherein the landlord may forfeit your security deposit. To avoid any unwanted complications, review your contract’s early termination clause.
Step 2— Negotiate the terms before you break the lease.
You’d want to talk with your landlord before you send your termination letter. During the meeting, calmly discuss the reasons with utmost sincerity. Hopefully, your landlord will go easy on the contract’s early termination clause and be lenient regarding the following:
- Security Deposit — The deposit is usually forfeited when a tenant ends the contract before the agreed date. However, you may negotiate this depending on your reason.
- Termination Date — If you need to immediately vacate the property, talk to your landlord about waiving the 30-day notice.
- Buyout — If the landlord decides that a buyout payment must be added on top of the forfeited security deposit, try to convince them to keep it to a minimum. You may also ask your company to provide monetary support if a job relocation is the reason for the termination.
- Subletting— Should you deem that you’ll end up with too much losses by ending the lease early, ask the landlord if subletting is possible. This is a rental agreement wherein you’ll bring in a third-party tenant or a replacement tenant, who will finish your contract for you while paying the rent as well. You can read more about subletting here.
- Lease Assignment — If none of the above suggestions work, try to assign somebody else to benefit from your lease until you can finish the term. You may ask the landlord if you can find a replacement. Normally, these could be your family or trusted friends who will take care of the rented premises on your behalf since they are living there under your name.
Remember that tenants must use the original lease as the basis of their negotiation points. When finalized, the negotiated terms must then be indicated on the letter to properly end the lease.
Step 3— Formalize the termination letter.
Use the template below to formalize your request for early lease termination. You may also add some of the results of your negotiation, which you may detail in writing. Once you have fully edited the template, print a copy. Make sure that you ask the landlord or his or her representative to sign a receiving copy as proof that you have submitted the notice. Another option is sending it through certified mail, a service that uses a form that the landlord must acknowledge and sign. You may also consult state laws regarding provisions for their guidelines on sending a proper notice.
Download your fillable Early Lease Termination Letter template in PDF.
Steps to Filling Out an Early Lease Termination Letter
Step 1— Download the lease termination letter template.
Choose the file that is compatible with your computer:
- Early Lease Termination Letter Template – Open Office Format (.odt)
- Early Lease Termination Letter Template – Microsoft Office Format (.docx)
Step 2— Fill out the heading.
For the first part of the letter, type the following:
- Blank 1: Date when the early lease termination letter will be sent
- Blank 2: Full name of the landlord
- Blank 3: Unit number and street of the landlord (e.g. “1 Lander St.,”)
- Blank 4: Landlord’s County, state, and zip code (e.g. “Olympia, WA 98501”)
For blanks 3 to 4, you may add the necessary details to make the address more accurate.
Step 3— Indicate the subject of the letter.
Below the date and the addressee, fill out the first sentence, which starts with “Re:” ( a clipped version of the word “Regarding”). Write the following details in order:
- Blank 1: The full name of the landlord
- Blank 2: The full name of the tenant
- Blank 3: The date when the lease agreement was signed as it appears on the contract
- Blank 4: Write the complete property address (house number, street name, county/city, state, and zip code).
- Blank 5: Supply your unit number and floor if applicable.
Step 4— Write the body of the letter.
- Blank 1: Supply the landlord’s honorific and his or her last name (e.g. “Mr. Jensen”).
- Blank 2: Your desired last day on the property. Take note that most contracts and states require a notice of 30 days before the tenant vacates the premises.
- Blank 3: Add the reason for writing the early lease termination letter. The usual causes are job changes, family responsibilities, marriage, or monetary problems. You may briefly narrate your situation so that the landlord can understand you better.
Step 5— Write instructions for the security deposit and sign the letter.
- Box 1: If the tenant is still eligible for claiming the deposit, he or she may write the new forwarding address or account details on the blank corresponding to the first box. The landlord will then send the refund to this address of the account.
- Box 2: Otherwise, the tenant may tick the second box. Only do this if it is clear that the deposit will not be given back. You’ll never know if the landlord will change his or her mind last minute.
- Blank 3: Finally, the tenant must write his or her full name on the blank and sign the letter.
If you need to break the lease early, remember that you must properly inform the landlord and abide by the contract’s early lease termination clause. There are, however, many disadvantages to the early termination of lease, most of which were detailed in this article. Should you feel that the decision to leave early weighs more than finishing the lease, you may formalize your request through an early lease termination letter. Using such will allow your landlord to better understand your reasons and may be more lenient when imposing the early termination clause.
With over 25 years of experience as a business and transactional attorney, Jennifer has mastered the craft of closing highly successful deals for her clients. Through her wide-ranging expertise in commercial contracts, real estate transactions, M&A and corporate law, Jennifer secures results that are second-to-none.