Can a Tenant Break a Lease Early Due to an Early Termination Clause?

Last Updated: October 11, 2023 by Phil Ahn

Tenants can break their lease early by exercising an early termination clause, provided that one was included in the rental agreement.

What Is as an Early Termination Clause?

Many lease agreements include an early termination clause, which allows a tenant to terminate a lease early for a financial penalty. The amount of the fee varies (usually from 1-3 months’ rent) as well as the amount of notice required (often 30 days).


“Tenant may, upon 30 days’ written notice to the Landlord, terminate the lease provided that the Tenant pays a termination charge equal to 1 months’ rent. Termination will be effective as of the last day of the calendar month following the end of the 30-day notice period. The termination charge will be in addition to all rent due up to the termination day.”


“Lessee shall have the option to terminate the lease by giving written notice of that intention and identifying the early termination date to Lessor at least 45 days prior.”

How to Terminate a Lease Due to an Early Termination Clause

To terminate a lease because of an early termination clause, there must be a provision within the lease allowing termination or a separately signed mutual agreement between the landlord and tenant.

Notifying the Landlord

To notify the landlord about exercising an early termination clause, a tenant must provide the landlord notice, in writing, of their intention to terminate the lease. Notice must be given in accordance to the conditions provided in the lease.

Paying the Early Termination Fee

When an early termination fee exists, the lease will outline the exact amount needed to terminate the lease. Pay this fee to the landlord and keep a record of the payment.

Terminating the Lease

Once the tenant delivers notice, the lease is considered terminated at the time specified in the notice.

Tenant Liabilities

The tenant will be liable for the remaining unpaid rent on a prorated basis. For example, if the notice was delivered on the 23rd of March, and the rent is due on the 1st of each month, the earliest the lease can terminate is May 1st. Therefore, rent is still due for the month of April.

The tenant will also be liable for any damages, such as property damages incurred during the duration of the tenancy.