Your girlfriend will need to examine her lease to see what the clauses
are for breaking it-- many leases have an early termination fee.
Luckily for her, accoridng to Michigan law, the landlord must help
find someone to take her place (this does not precude any early
termination fees, however)-- so in other words, she probably won't be
stuck paying the rent until the lease is up. But this mainly depends
on what clauses are in her contract. This will also depend mainly on
her landlord-- does she rent from an individual or from a huge
company? An individual would be much easier to negotiate with/ deal
with in this situation. In some cases, someone breaking her lease
might lose her security deposit. But this is illegal in Michigan:
"Tenants are guaranteed certain rights under the law. Some leases
contain provisions which attempt to waive these rights. Such
provisions are prohibited by Michigan P.A. 454, of 1978, the Truth in
Renting Act. The following explains the types of provisions which are
prohibited and what to do if your lease contains such a provision:
'My lease says I forfeit my security deposit if I break my lease.'
The use of security deposits is governed by Michigan P.A. 348,1972.
Your lease cannot waive any of your rights under the Security Deposit
Act. A security deposit has a specific purpose: to reimburse the
landlord for damage to the rental unit, unpaid rent, or unpaid utility
bills left by the tenant."
The law can be perused here:
"If you wish to break the lease, you should inform your landlord in
writing as soon as possible. Your landlord is obligated by law to try
to find someone to move in, in order to mitigate damages. The landlord
should advertise the vacancy in the newspaper, etc.
If the landlord's attempts at finding someone else to move in are
unsuccessful, you may be held responsible for rent for the time the
place stays vacant. The more notice the landlord has, the less likely
it is that you will have to pay. Once the landlord signs a lease with
someone else through the end of your lease, you are no longer
responsible for the lease. There is a possibility that, if the
landlord signs a lease with someone else for a lower dollar amount,
you would be responsible for paying the difference. You may want to
help look for a new tenant, thus reducing the risk of getting stuck
with the lease.
Your landlord must attempt to find someone else to move in to mitigate
damages. You would be required to pay rent for as long as the place
stays vacant. It is therefore in your best interest to help find
someone to move in."
Early Termination Fees--
"Some leases have clauses requiring that the tenant pay a certain
amount of money for terminating the lease early. If this fee is higher
than what re-rental would actually cost the landlord, consider
refusing to pay it. For example, three months rent is probably not
reasonable. If the amount is reasonable, you may opt to pay it so as
to walk away from the deal without any worries. In any case, you
should put any agreement you reach with the landlord in writing."
"Subletting is one of the most common ways a tenant can get out of
paying full rent for a place in which they do not wish to live. When
you sublet, you essentially become a landlord. You negotiate a
contract with a subtenant and you may collect a security deposit from
I've had friends in this situation before and they did everything they
could, advertising on Craigslist, posting flyers, etc., in order to
get a new tenant to sublease. She probably won't have to pay the
entire rent until next April, but she might have to pay until the
landlord finds a new tenant, so she can help things out by placing her
own ads and advertising the apartment herself.
Now, the situation will probably only affect her credit if she leaves
an unpaid bill with the landlord. If she goes to the landlord and
explains in advance that she wants to leave and her reasons why, and
most importantly if she continues paying her rent and bills for the
apartment, it does not seem that that would reflect on her credit
report-- it's the landlord's choice to decide whether or not to "ding"
a credit report, and that would most likely be for failure to pay. In
other words, if she "terminates" the lease according to the terms of
her contract, probably with written notice and paying of an early
termination fee and helps find a new tenant or pays until the landlord
gets a new tenant, she has done the best she could in the situation.
If she runs off and never pays the landlord anything else and "breaks"
the lease, she will probably get a pretty large hit to her credit
"break lease michigan"
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"Michigan P.A. 348,1972"
I hope this answers your questions and good luck with your situation!
If you need any additional clarification or help, please let me know
and I'll be glad to help you out.