Updated on

Is it Better to Break My Lease or Get Evicted?

If you can't pay your rent anymore getting evicted is the worst possible scenario since it will make it difficult to get a lease in the future.

If you find yourself in a situation where it's impossible for you to continue paying the rent (or maybe it's just gotten a lot harder) then you may be tempted wait out the eviction process instead of negotiating a lease break with your landlord. One common misconception is that breaking your lease goes on your record and makes it harder to rent in the future. Actually, as long as you break the lease as part of an agreement that you came to with your landlord, this isn't true.

Here are a few things to consider if you're facing a lease break or an eviction.

Evictions always go on your record, but lease breaks don't

If you stop paying rent entirely then you will have breached your lease, which is just cause for eviction - you'll get a demand letter and then your name will be filed in housing court. Once a landlord has filed anything with housing court, even if it was unjustified, you will likely show up as having an eviction on your background check next time you apply for a rental.

You could still come out of this with a good reference from your landlord

Leaving without paying what you owe may cause your landlord to go to small claims court, putting your name into the public record as someone with a criminal history. Even if they don't, you can be sure that they won't give you a good reference. This is all the more true if they are forced to go through the legal eviction process, which is expensive and time-consuming for landlords. On the other hand, if you cooperate with them and get to a negotiated agreement, considering they understand that you had no choice but to leave, they may still give you a good reference.

Your landlord may be legally required to part amicably

A lease break is when you pay a fee (after some negotiation) and your lease is canceled completely. You may sign a lease termination agreement, releasing you from the lease. Landlords aren't required in any state to negotiate a lease break with you.

On the other hand you can get out of your lease by finding someone to replace you and your landlord may required to cooperate with you in doing this. If your landlord is legally required to mitigate damages then they have to help you find a replacement tenant so that you can leave.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.