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What Constitutes a Broken Lease in Texas?

Updated on January 10, 2011

 Many people are unaware to what extent a broken lease can affect them.  They may not even know that information is reported not only on their credit, but also between rental agencies.  To say that it is difficult to rent after breaking a lease is an understatement.  Although it is not impossible, you greatly reduce the number and quality of communities that will accept your rental application.  It does not matter if you broke your lease five years ago, or if it was five states over, this will not be looked upon favorably by any rental company and your application will likely be denied.  There are many different ways for you to break your lease and some people are baffled when they receive a huge bill at what they consider to be the end of their tenancy.   

Abandonment

 Sometimes people run in to financial difficulty and think the only thing they can do is pack up and leave before they are evicted.  Rental communities would like to retain their residents whenever possible and will likely work with you to establish a payment plan.

Failure to Give Proper Notice

Most leases require you to terminate your lease in writing typically thirty days before lease expiration. When a resident does not enter a notice of intent to vacate and does not sign a new lease, they automatically enter into a month-to-month tenancy. For that reason if you leave at the end of your lease term without notice, you will likely be billed for one month of rent (to cover your thirty day notice) and the re-letting charge which may be up to 85% of one month of rent.

Leaving With a Balance

 At their discretion, a rental company may choose to bill you all applicable fees associated with breaking a lease if you leave the community owing rent.  This can happen if you owe any amount, even partial balances.  Some people are of the impression they can leave and apply their security deposit towards their last month of rent.  This is not correct, and these people are often confused when they receive large bills from their former apartment communities. 

What Can I Do?

 Communication is key.  If you have broken a lease you should waste no time contacting the rental community.  If your account has not been sent to collections they will likely work out a payment arrangement with you.  If it has already been turned over to collections you may be able to settle the debt for less than you originally owed.  Once you have a letter showing the debt paid in full most communities will begin to rent to you again.  Some communities may even rent with proof that you are making regular payments.  Ideally though, it is best to avoid the situation by communicating with your rental community before you break your lease and find out what options you have available to you.

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