Penny Wise: Breaking leases costs money, hurts credit

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By Brenda Carielo

The Texas Apartment Association provides state-standard rules and regulations for renting.

Along with the responsibilities of maintaining the home under the conditions of the rental contract, also known as a lease, it is a legal obligation to pay rent for a certain length of time, according to the TAA.

“Students need to keep in mind that when they sign a lease, they need to read the contract,” David Mintz, communications director at TAA, said.

Renters are forewarned of the potential for disagreements that might lead to the idea of breaking the lease. According to the renting basics web page, most disagreements between residents and rental housing owners or managers occur because of misunderstandings about obligations in the lease.

There are very few circumstances in which you can break a lease without penalty. Only in special exceptions for military personnel or victims of domestic violence will the contract be nullified.

If you want to buy a home, your job is transferring you, or you are getting a divorce, you must still abide by the lease’s length of residency.

Unless you and the property owner agreed to some special provision when the lease was signed, you will still be responsible.

Such charges include a reletting fee, which covers the property’s cost of getting the apartment leased again or the remainder of the rent through the end of the lease term.

“Students have consequences. When trying to get another apartment, they look at prior rental terms and might decide not to allow you to rent,” Mintz said. “Plus it will make your credit bad.”


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