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Is It Ever Okay to Allow a Tenant Break a Lease?

· Scott Safadi,Palo Alto California,housingforgoogle,Atari-themed,San Jose

There's no denying it: vacancies are expensive. In an ideal scenario, no landlord would ever be caught with any vacancies at all. They would sign airtight leases with responsible tenants who would give plenty of notice when they plan to move out so you could make arrangements for a new tenant to take their place. Of course, few of us operate in such an ideal world. Cal Bay Property Management's Scott Safadi recommends only allowing tenants to break their leases under specific circumstances. Keep reading to understand when to allow them to do so:

After a Job Loss

An unexpected job loss can wreak havoc on even the most prepared person's savings. Even a few weeks of not working can devastate their finances, making it difficult to pay rent. If you've got tenants who are going through tough times, have a realistic conversation with them about their expectations. If they can remain a tenant and pay rent on time, great. If they cannot, however, it may be best for both parties to part ways.


Perhaps even more traumatizing than being out of work unexpectedly is learning you have a life-threatening disease. Such a diagnosis can change not only the way you earn your living, but your very life itself. Should a tenant come to you with a request to move out because of such a diagnosis, practice empathy and find a way to work with someone who is already fighting an uphill battle.


Breakups happen, but when it's a marriage that's dissolving, the impact can be significant. Even when a couple doesn't own a home, dividing their assets can be complicated. While you could certainly ask a divorcing couple to follow through on their lease agreement, extending some compassion in a tough time can mean a lot. While allowing them out of their lease without any concessions may be out of the question, keeping penalties to a minimum can keep things civil during a hard time.

No matter the reason for a person breaking their lease, its important to act with kindness. Following the golden rule is something we're taught in pre-school, but living by the idea that you treat others the way you want to be treated never ages.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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