5 Easy Ways to Break your NYC Apartment Lease Without Consequences

By: ROS Team

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No matter how well we plan life, life always has a final say. Sometimes it works in our favor while at other times it does not go well with our ambitions. You might have planned to stay as intended in the lease in a certain property but a single event can potentially change your all priorities.

You might want to break your apartment lease because you want your partner to stay with you or you found unexpectedly better career opportunities in another part of the country. Whatever the case is, breaking the lease has to be handled carefully to avoid bitter consequences.

Best Ways to Break Your NYC Apartment Lease Without Consequences

1) Talk with your Landlord
2) Consult an Agent
3) Sublet your Apartment
4) Find a Replacement
5) Force Constructive Eviction
6) Some General Tips
7) FAQs

Talk with your Landlord and Walk Away from Friendly:

The fact is, in this troubled time, maintaining your lifestyle is pure luxury. The pandemic has shaken the roots of our system and more people are becoming a victim of it every passing day. Landlords are not ignorant of this depression and feel empathy for their fellows.

So, if you are really in trouble, go and talk with your landlord. Explain your situation and let your landlord know that you can no longer manage your rent in time and place a request to end your lease term. Chances are your landlord will let you go without any legal consequences.

You may go and visit your landlord and explain in person or another alternative is to get everything in writing and send it to your landlord via email or letter.

Consult an Agent:

Agents are the right persons who know the technical and legal terms of the real estate market inside out. They invest their lives in learning the craft to work for the benefit of their clients.

If you approach an agent who has good experience can always find something which would let you walk away without any consequences. It is likely to cost you a few bucks but it would mean a lot less trouble.

Sublet your Apartment:

Landlords are concerned about the financial losses when a tenant evicts the apartment. They are not sure how long it would take to find a suitable tenant and that means uncertainty for a while. For many landlords, it might mean a compromise in their lifestyle as they used to pay their utility bills with the rent money.

Ask your landlord if you sublet your apartment until the original expiry date of your lease agreement. You may easily find tenants who would be happy to stay there. Though you would still be responsible for the property you can pay the rent easily.

Find a Replacement:

Apart from financial losses, finding a new tenant is a tough job. It consumes energy and capital to find a tenant and still, uncertainty looms over as landlords cannot exactly know how a new tenant would take care of the property.

So if you can find a replacement for yourself and make sure the landlord is not affected by your decision, it is highly likely that your landlord would happily let you walk away from the lease.

Let your friends and family know that you are looking for a replacement at your current property. In addition to it, take the help of social media and let your virtual circle know about the vacancy. If all fails, let dedicated real estate websites do the trick for you.

Force Constructive Eviction:

So for now, we tried to explore the ways where both parties stay unharmed but this option would not make it sure as one is going to lose it. If you are looking to end your lease because you are not comfortable with the property issues in the building structure or any operation issues such as plumbing issues or if there is any safety hazard that you could notice at the time of renting, you may force a constructive eviction.

hand ready to fill a eviction notice document 5ZW572L 1

Besides, if you think the promises made to you during the lease agreement are not fulfilled. You may take a cover of the warranty of habitability as landlords are required to maintain a certain level of living conditions before renting the apartment.

However, if you plan to use this option, you have to prove your claims and if found not reasonable, you have to pay the rent.

Pro tip: the better strategy to avail of this option is to keep recording the evidence of all your claims. Writing a notice letter for the required work to your tenant before effecting eviction would help your cause.

Read Also: How To Get Out Of A Lease Early Without Penalty

Some General Tips:

  • Read your lease well and check every clause before taking the initiative and consulting with a person with a legal background.
  • No matter which option you are trying to explore, get everything in writing so it may not cause any issues for you in the future.
  • If you are good in negation and can bring someone around, then talking with your landlord for a mutually agreed lease break is the best option.
  • Take the help of the internet if you aim to find a subtenant or a replacement.
  • Trying to annoy your landlord with late payments or violation complaints also provides an exit but it is not ethical to do so. However, if you are bent to get out of the lease immediately, you may take this route.


How Can I Break My Lease Without Penalty in New York?

It’s important to keep in mind that breaking a lease agreement can have legal and financial consequences, so it’s best to explore all options and make sure you have a valid reason for doing so. Be sure to consult with a lawyer or a tenant advocacy organization if you have any doubts or questions.

What’s a Good Excuse to Break a Lease?

Here are some legitimate reasons that may allow you to break your lease:

Health and safety concerns, Job loss or transfer, domestic violence or harassment, and a landlord who breaches the lease

What is the Penalty for Breaking a Lease in NYC?

The penalty for breaking a lease in NYC can vary depending on the terms of your lease agreement and the circumstances under which you are breaking it. Generally, tenants who break a lease without a legitimate reason may be responsible for paying several months’ worth of rent or other penalties outlined in the lease agreement.

Can a Tenant Break a Lease in New York?

Yes, a tenant can break a lease in New York under certain circumstances. However, breaking a lease can have legal and financial consequences, and it is essential to

Do You Have to Resign Lease NYC?

In New York City, tenants are not required to re-sign a lease when their current lease expires. However, if the tenant wishes to continue living in the apartment after the lease term expires, they should discuss renewal options with their landlord.


Breaking a lease is not always welcomed but given the pandemic, people have been compromising their lifestyles. The chief point to understand here is that landlords are worried about the financial loss as well as the energy required to find a new tenant.

If you can find your replacement, landlords would not mind you, breaking the lease.