What would happen if I change my mind after lease signed?

Recently a young couple applied one of our rental homes and got approved. They signed a fixed-term lease, paid the security deposit and the 1st month rent in full, and were happily ready for the move-in one month later. Then the bad news: they were being told by their employer that they have to be relocated out of town soon. The following question was raised naturally: ” Can I simply back out the lease and get my money back?”

The short answer is No. Here is why – A fixed-term lease is the legal document that holds both sides (landlord and tenant) accountable, with a very good reason – It is the security and commitment that go both ways.

For the tenants, with the signed lease in place, they can securely make a raft of important moving arrangements with big budget and changes, without the surprise of being told by the landlord that he changed his mind all of sudden simply because someone else give him a better offer. In essence, landlord is obligated legally to rent this home to the signed tenants no matter what.

For the landlords, once the lease is signed, he can safely inform all the other likely equally qualified prospects to find their homes somewhere else, as they need to make decisions fairly quick at the beginning of 1-2 months prior to their current leases’ ending. The signed lease and funding serve as an insurance for landlords to fulfil his legal obligation accordingly.

In real life, unexpected does happen. It is recommended that landlords and tenants should work together to mitigate the situation as needed. In the case of the young couple, one of the possible solutions could be :

  • Communicate the situation honestly and promptly
  • Opt to so called re-renting, if applicable, and
  • Re-rent the property accordingly.

In summary, a signed lease is a legal agreement committed by both landlords and tenants so that their exclusive rights and obligations can be enforced. While sometimes unexpected situation can occur, prompt and clear communication by both sides is always recommended – it goes a long way in helping us to overcome any obstacle and get the best result possible.

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