3 Things Landlords Should Know About Breaking a Lease in NYC

Breaking a lease in NYC isn’t a decision you should take lightly. Thanks to the new rent stabilization policies, it’ll be a costly endeavor to prepare the apartment for new renters once it becomes available. Truthfully, it’s cheaper to keep the lease.

But some renters are more trouble than they’re worth; for instance, maybe their loud parties cause complaints from neighbors. In that case, your other tenants would appreciate having them gone and be less likely to move out. As long as you break your lease legally, you can make your renters happy without legal repercussions.

But before you terminate the agreement, here are three things to keep in mind.

1. You Need a Legally Allowed Reason

Sorry, but you can’t legally evict a tenant simply because they’re noisy or don’t take out their trash on time. A New York landlord can only break a lease for reasons described in the Tenant Protection Act in NY. That includes the following:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Expired lease agreement
  • Severe violation of the lease agreement

Even under these circumstances, you’ll still have to seek legal counsel before taking action. In most cases, you’ll be required to give the tenant notice of their alleged violation and give them a chance to rectify it.

Otherwise, you’ll have to prove that the renter’s violation is severe enough to warrant breaking the lease.

2. Your Reputation Is on the Line

When you break a lease, your previous renters are going to spread the news. The word will get out that you’re unreliable, and future tenants may be hesitant to rent from you.

If rental rates fall, your rental properties may be harder to sell unless you lower their asking price.

The best way to avoid this scenario is by taking a proactive approach. If a tenant is causing problems, help them find another place to live before asking them to leave. At the very least, you’ll be known for being fair and willing to work with your tenants.

3. You Can Still Recover Unpaid Rent

Breaking a lease often seems like a final goodbye to your tenant, but it’s not until they pay what they owe you.

On the list of tenant rights and responsibilities, paying rent is a legal requirement. As such, you can still seek rental payments in court even if you break the lease yourself.

If a judge were to be informed of the situation, they might issue an order that forces the renter to pay their dues and also leave your property.

What to Do Before Breaking a Lease in NYC

To avoid violating your tenants’ rights, be sure you have a good, legal reason for breaking a lease in NYC. And if you want to lessen the blow this decision will have on your reputation, help your problematic tenant find a new home. This compassion should only be extended after you’ve collected any unpaid rent, and only if you feel the renter is deserving of your kindness.

Do you want to follow all applicable laws and regulations, both as a landlord and as an individual? Explore the rest of our blog for more articles on legal matters.


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