Can I leave my apartment without damaging my credit?

UPDATED: Aug 6, 2011

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Can I leave my apartment without damaging my credit?

I have been living in my apartment for 6 months; I signed a lease for 12. I can no longer afford the rent here and am looking for a way out without being evicted. I know that if I’m even 1 day late paying rent, a notice is left in my door stating I have 3 days to leave, or an eviction will be filed. If I take the opportunity, and leave within the 3 days, can the management still come after me for the money for the next 6 months? Can they report it to my credit, even though they asked me to leave?

Asked on August 6, 2011 Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if you leave after not paying the rent or paying it late, the landlord can still sue you for the remaining balance of the rent, and a default may be reported on your credit score. You would avoid having an eviction reported as well, as well as avoid having to deal with court and court officers, but that's about all you'd save. Unfortunately, no longer being able to afford the space is not a valid ground to terminate the lease; if you leave for that reason, you will be in breach. Your options are:

1) Bring in a roommate to help you pay;

2) Sublet to someone else;

3) Find someone to take the lease over entirely (assiging the lease);

(Note: some leases forbid assignment and/or subletting, or taking in roommates; you need to check what your lease allows.)

4) Negotiate with your landlord--will he let you leave early, under some circumstances?

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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