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Tenant wants to break lease

Have a tenant who moved in on Sept 1 '09, who emailed me today to let me know that she cannot afford the apartment.  She says she will pay Nov 1 rent, but wants to be out by Dec 1.  How can a tenant just break a lease because they "can't afford it?"  The lease (downloaded from is clear  that she is liable for all rents through Aug 31, 2010.  What do I do?  Do I have to return her security deposit?

Hi Claire, I am in the same situation.  From all the research I've done We (as Landlords) do not have to return the deposit.  And she is liable for the rest of the terms of the lease.  Which means that she owes you those months.  But as she has said she can't afford the lease I wouldn't go thru the troubles of taking her to court because you'll end up wasting money!    What I would do and I am about to do myself.  Is send her a letter stating that you reserve the right to show the property (I hope your lease states the # of days you are allowed notice to display signs) and display signs of availability for the apt. Start now, so you're not out any money!  Start networking and let it be know you will have an apt ready for December.  Copy and paste this in your browser: A form you can use is under the move out section on here.  One other thing make sure you leave a paper trail with the agreements you come to with her. Good luck!  ~L
Thanks, Leslie.  I agree with your assessment of the situation.  I have a good paper trail (emails) and have her agreement to show the property w/out 24-hour notice required by Indiana.  She is looking for a replacement tenant, and I am networking my fingers to the bone.  Already have one good lead -- and I hope it pans out.  SO disappointing dealing with situations like this ... especially since I went over the lease with her page by page to make sure she understood the level of her commitment.  Geez.  Thanks so much for your feedback; I definitely feel more confident with your input.
Claire , I have the same problem California. My tenent paid me Novembers rent then cussed me out that the rent was to high and they where leaving. There lease is not up till Jan 31,2010??? I also went though the agreement page by page.
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