How Does Breaking Your Lease Affect Your Rental History?

Breaking your lease is a decision that should never be taken lightly. Whether it’s due to unexpected life changes, financial constraints, or other reasons, the consequences can have a lasting impact on your rental history. In this blog post, we will explore How Does Breaking Your Lease Affect Your Rental History and discuss strategies to mitigate the consequences, including the potential for positive outcomes when handled responsibly.

Does Breaking a Lease Affect Rental History?

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If you’re asking, ‘Does breaking a lease affect rental history?’ the answer is yes. Breaking a lease can impact your rental history. When you break your lease, your landlord may report this to tenant screening services. These services collect information about tenants’ rental history, including instances of lease violations. If your landlord reports the broken lease, it will appear on your tenant screening report.

When you want to rent again, new landlords often check this record. If they see you’ve broken a lease before, they might hesitate to rent to you. They’re worried you might not be a reliable tenant. This can also hurt your credit score.

But the good news is, you can control this. If you break your lease responsibly—by talking to your landlord, paying any fees, and leaving the place clean—you can get a positive reference from your landlord. They might not even report the broken lease. Even if they do, future landlords might not be too worried, because they can see you’re trying to be a good tenant.

The Impact of Breaking Your Lease on Your Rental History

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According to, 33% of renters have had to end their leases early. The top reasons for this are moving for a new job (25%), facing unexpected money problems (18%), relationship issues (15%), losing a job (12%), and health troubles (10%).

The study also found that folks who break leases might have to pay extra fees, lose their security deposits, and struggle to find a new place to rent. This shows that breaking a lease isn’t straightforward. You must understand how it can affect your rental history and have good reasons for doing it.

Here’s how breaking your lease can affect your rental history:

1. Negative Mark on Your Rental History:

Breaking your lease usually results in a negative mark on your rental history. This mark often gets reported to tenant screening services, which many landlords use to evaluate potential tenants. Consequently, your rental history may carry a red flag, indicating that you’ve broken a lease in the past.

2. Difficulty Renting from Reputable Landlords:

Reputable landlords often have a rigorous tenant selection process. They prioritize tenants with a strong rental history and may be hesitant to rent to someone with a history of breaking leases. This can limit your options, as these landlords may not consider you a reliable tenant.

3. Higher Security Deposits or Rent:

If a landlord is willing to rent to you after a lease break, they may require you to pay a higher security deposit or charge you more in rent. This is their way of mitigating the perceived risk associated with your tenancy. It’s a financial safeguard against potential issues that might arise.

4. Limited Lease Terms:

Instead of offering standard one-year lease agreements, some landlords may propose shorter lease terms, such as month-to-month agreements. This provides them with more flexibility in case of future lease breaches. While this can be less secure for you as a tenant, it is a way for landlords to protect themselves.

5. Difficulty Finding Rental References:

One of the challenges you may face after breaking a lease is obtaining positive rental references. Many landlords require references from previous landlords as part of their tenant screening process. If you have a history of broken leases, securing these references can be an uphill battle, making it harder to convince future landlords of your trustworthiness.

6. Impact on your credit score:

If your landlord reports the broken lease to the credit bureaus, it could damage your credit score. This could make it more difficult to qualify for loans and other forms of credit in the future.

Read Also About: How Bad Is Breaking a Lease?

How to minimize the impact?

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Now that we’ve outlined the potential consequences, let’s discuss strategies to minimize the impact of breaking your lease on your rental history while emphasizing positive outcomes:

1. Open Communication

One of the most crucial steps is to communicate openly and honestly with your landlord as soon as you know you need to break your lease. The sooner you inform them, the more time they have to find a new tenant. This reduces their potential losses and shows your willingness to cooperate.

2. Be Prepared to Pay Early Termination Fees

Lease agreements often include early termination clauses specifying the fees for breaking your lease. Be ready and willing to fulfill these financial obligations in full, demonstrating your responsibility. You can also offer to pay your landlord a lump sum to break your lease. This may be more appealing to your landlord than receiving smaller monthly payments.

3. Leave the rental property in good condition

Before you move out, invest time and effort in thoroughly cleaning the rental property. Address any necessary repairs promptly. Consider providing your landlord with a walk-through checklist that makes it easy for them to see that the property is in good condition. This not only minimizes the burden on your landlord but also showcases your responsibility.

4. Obtain a Positive Reference from Your Landlord

A positive reference from your current landlord can offset the negative impact of a broken lease on your rental history. Responsible behavior throughout the process can lead to a favorable reference, helping you in future housing searches.

5. Find a New Tenant Yourself:

One proactive way to minimize the impact is to take the initiative to find a replacement tenant. By actively searching for a new tenant to take over your lease, you demonstrate your willingness to cooperate and reduce the financial burden on your current landlord.

6. Be Honest with Future Landlords

Transparency is crucial when dealing with future landlords. Explain the situation behind your lease break and why it was necessary. Showcase your commitment to responsible tenancy to present a comprehensive and balanced rental history.

Read Also About: Can a Co-Applicant Have an Eviction and Still Secure an Apartment?

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it typically cost when a tenant breaks a lease?

The typical cost of a tenant breaking a lease averages around $1,800. This amount includes expenses such as early termination fees, lost rental income, and repair costs.

What are some valid reasons for breaking a lease early?

Valid reasons for breaking a lease early can encompass various circumstances, such as military deployment, job relocation, unexpected financial hardship, health issues, instances of domestic violence, disability, residing in an uninhabitable apartment, or facing a breach of the lease by the landlord.

What documents should you prepare when breaking your lease in a responsible manner?

When breaking your lease in a responsible manner, it’s essential to prepare specific documents, including a copy of your lease agreement, a letter to your landlord explaining your reasons, a move-out checklist, and a copy of your security deposit receipt. These documents collectively ensure a smoother transition, provide protection in case of disputes, and establish a clear record of responsible tenancy.


In conclusion, breaking your lease can indeed affect your rental history, but when handled in a responsible manner, it can also provide opportunities for positive outcomes. While there are no guarantees, following these tips can help you navigate the process effectively, secure your housing needs, and present a well-rounded rental history that reflects your commitment to responsible tenancy.