Writing A Hardship Letter Breaking Lease

If you have signed a lease on a property, you will be contractually obliged to remain in that property for a set period of time. However, situations may change and they may force you to to break the lease. A situation of financial hardship may be accepted for this, although you will have to write a formal letter to your landlord.

Some Basic Guidelines in Writing the Hardship Letter

The said hardship letter is a formal business letter. This means it must be properly formatted and addressed. It must also not contain any grammar or spelling errors. The letter has to be factual, short, and to the point.

Indicate who you are and which unit you currently lease. Explain when your lease started, and state that there has been a significant change in your financial situation, which is forcing you to break your lease. State that you hope the landlord will agree to breaking the lease without charging you a monetary penalty for doing so.

Explain How Your Situation Has Changed

Discuss that particular change in your financial situation that is causing you to break your lease. Some commonly accepted reasons are divorce or separation, a failing business, death in the family, and sudden illness or disability. Specify your reasons and provide evidence through documents. Elucidate on how this situation has impacted your financially where you are no longer able to pay for the lease payments. Provide copies of your other bills as evidence of this.

Make a Goodwill Gesture

In order to appease your landlord, you may want to make a goodwill gesture. For instance, you can offer to help in finding a new tenant by advertising through your social media accounts. You could also suggest, if that is the case, that you already know someone who would be happy to sublet the property until the end of your lease arrangement. Subletting is usually not accepted under a lease arrangement, however, so make it clear that you have not set this in motion yet, but that you feel it could be a good opportunity to resolve the situation.

Should subletting not be an option for you or for your landlord, then you may need to request that the penalty associated with breaking the lease be waived. The nature of this penalty is detailed in your original lease arrangement. It is usually a number of months’ rent, which means that it can be quite substantial. You may need to explain, therefore, that the situation you are in has been completely unexpected and has already caused you some financially hardship, and that having to pay such a huge penalty would be impossible for you.

Ending the Letter

In ending the letter, make sure that your landlord understands that your situation is beyond your control, and that you are willing to resolve it in the best way possible. Remember to keep photocopies of your letter and that you send it by registered post. Do also follow up with your landlord if there has been no reply within one week.

Hardship Letter Breaking Lease Example

{Your Name}
{Your Address}
{Your Phone #}


To Whom It May Concern:

I am the tenant living in {rental unit} at {address}. I have been residing there since {month, date}. I am writing because my financial situation has changed in recent weeks. I need to break my lease early, and I am hoping I can do so without monetary penalty.

My income has become significantly reduced recently, due to {sickness, death in the family, job loss, etc. Be specific}. The money I have remaining every month must go to {food, car payment, medication, etc.} and so I do not have enough left over to pay for rent.

I am happy to help advertise my apartment for another tenant, or to look for someone to sublet the unit until my lease is up. Since subletting is restricted in the tenant handbook, I wanted to check in with you on the proper procedure before taking that approach.

If subletting is not an option, I hope that there is a way that you can reduce or forgive the penalty for breaking the lease early. I am not trying to avoid my responsibilities, but these new circumstances have been both unexpected and financially devastating.

I apologize for any inconvenience this causes you and I look forward to speaking with you soon.


{Sender Name}

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