When you start searching for an apartment to rent, you should be prepared to rent the unit you choose for at least one year, as most landlords require one-year commitments. If you fail to stay in the unit for the entire length of time stated on the lease, you will probably have consequences to pay. Here are a couple important things you should know about breaking a lease.

The consequences you may have

When you rent an apartment, you will be required to sign a lease, and most landlords require one-year leases. If you decide you cannot afford the apartment, or if you need to move out for any other reason, you should understand that there may be consequences to pay if you cannot fulfill your entire one-year commitment. Here are some of the consequences you may face:

  • The landlord will keep your security deposit – In most states, landlords are allowed to keep security deposits if tenants fail to fulfill their obligations of the lease.
  • The landlord will sue you and put a judgement against you – Landlords also have the legal right to come after tenants for the money due for the remainder of the lease. For example, if your rent is $800 and you are moving out four months early, the landlord could sue you for $3,200, and you would have to pay this.

It's also important to realize that breaking your lease could impact your ability to rent another apartment in the future. If you apply for another apartment and the landlord checks your previous landlords and rental history, he or she could find out that you broke the lease. This might be a red flag for the landlord you try to rent from.

Options that might allow you to get out of the lease without major consequences

If you really cannot stay in the apartment you are in but want to avoid major consequences, there are several options that may help you get out of the lease. The best place to start with this is by talking to your landlord. If you explain your situation, the landlord might allow you to get out of the lease early. Your landlord might also recommend subletting your apartment for the remainder of the lease term, or he or she might even have other options to share with you. 

If you are ready to commit to renting an apartment, you should begin by contacting a real estate agent or a property management firm. Property managers and real estate agents can help you locate apartments for rent that fit your budget.

For more information, you will want to contact a company such as Bradley Scott, Inc.