Richard Kalinowski reports:
"If you need to terminate your apartment lease agreement, you should always formalize the termination request with a well-written letter. If disputes between you and the landlord arise later on, you can refer to the written documentation for proof of lease termination. However, if the lease agreement is poorly worded, the landlord may be able to argue that your notification was insufficient and not legally binding. Writing a high-quality letter to terminate your lease is important for protecting yourself and securing absolution from the lease agreement...Indicate the exact date that you plan to break the lease. Your letter should start out with a direct statement that you plan on moving out and terminating the lease on a specific day and time...Be as specific as possible. Give the time, day, month and year...Note in the letter if you plan on terminating the utilities on or earlier than your move-out date. Give him the exact date of termination. The landlord will need to know whether the utilities are working for apartment showings...Provide your reasons for breaking the lease in a second paragraph. If you are taking advantage of an early termination clause in your lease, your reasons do not need to be exhaustive, but you should indicate how and when you will pay any early termination fees included in the clause. Make sure that your reasons for lease termination fall within the legal requirements for acceptable termination...Unforeseen disability or job loss are typically acceptable reasons for termination under many lease agreements, but you will need to provide proof...Make an offer to provide an extra [month's] rent in exchange for termination if you do not have legal justifications for terminating the lease. If you do not have any acceptable reasons for termination, writing out a bargaining paragraph may help your case...[C]onceding an additional [month's] rent will usually convince a landlord to allow lease termination. Some states offer additional recourse for you as a tenant [i]f the landlord still refuses to let you break the lease. In California, you can actively promote the apartment and break the lease if a suitable tenant is found to take over your agreement. Other states have similar sublease policies that landlords must legally follow...Close your letter with a request for a formal walk-through of the apartment. Provide your phone number and email address, asking the landlord to contact you within one business week to arrange for a walk-through. Performing a walk-through with the landlord will give you a chance to explain any damage to the property and refute any potential withholding of the security deposit...Sign, date and notarize the letter and a copy, and keep the copy for yourself."
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