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Q: Breaking Housing Rental Lease Grand Rapids Michigan ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Breaking Housing Rental Lease Grand Rapids Michigan
Category: Reference, Education and News > Consumer Information
Asked by: kellinaidan-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 10 Jul 2006 07:42 PDT
Expires: 09 Aug 2006 07:42 PDT
Question ID: 744906
My girlfriend signed a 12 month lease in April, in Downtown Grand
Rapids, MI. We just started going out. She wants to move in with me,
which suits me fine. Currently, she is unemployed and has been for a
couple of weeks. She is looking for a new job, in my area. I live on the other
side of the state, in Canton MI.

If she wants to break her lease, in order to move, what does she have to
do and what penalties will she have to pay? Will this appear on her
credit report? Thanks.
Subject: Re: Breaking Housing Rental Lease Grand Rapids Michigan
Answered By: keystroke-ga on 10 Jul 2006 09:01 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi kellinaidan,

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
the subtenant."

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

Search terms:
"break lease michigan"
"breaking lease credit report michigan"
"security deposit break lease michigan"
"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.


Request for Answer Clarification by kellinaidan-ga on 10 Jul 2006 18:50 PDT
So it boils down to research the lease and negotiate with the
landlord. Is it harder to negotiate when the landlord is a family
friend, in your experience? (The landlord is a friend of her family)


Clarification of Answer by keystroke-ga on 13 Jul 2006 10:38 PDT
I don't have extensive dealings in negotiating with landlords, but I
would assume that it would be easier if the landlord is a family
friend.  It seems that the landlord would be more understanding in
that situation than if your girlfriend was just a faceless, random
tenant giving the landlord money. So that should work in her favor.  I
did have some dealings with a landlord after a situation with my
roommate two years ago--  I had already met the landlord and talked to
him a few times and that did work in my favor, I believe, in trying to
fix the whole situation.  Knowing the landlord should help, I would
think, and especially if he's a friend of her family, I would think
that he would be more hesitant in trying to put something on her
credit report or something of that nature.

But most importantly, she should definitely read the lease and see
what it says exactly and what she will have to deal with-- there
should probably be a section  that specifically deals with early
termination of the lease.

Best of luck to you in the situation! I hope everything works out well.
kellinaidan-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Thank you for your breakdown of the relevant law. I had found that
material on my own, but I really wasn't able make head or tail of it. 
Until you broke it down for me, it was just more words. Good to know
there are people out there to translate for us lay-people.

Subject: Re: Breaking Housing Rental Lease Grand Rapids Michigan
From: steph53-ga on 10 Jul 2006 15:11 PDT
You just started going out together and she already wants to move in with you???

Whoa, horsey!!!! 

Thats moving waaaaay to fast,IMHO.

Are you sure she doesn't just want you to support her because she is unemployed?

Be very, very careful,

Subject: Re: Breaking Housing Rental Lease Grand Rapids Michigan
From: kellinaidan-ga on 10 Jul 2006 18:49 PDT
Actually, it was my suggestion and her agreement. She wants to get a
job. And she's wanting to finish school. She was originally going to
do all of that in GR MI until we met. She's got few irons in the fire,
as it is, but given how comfortable things are with us and how natural
it feels, it seems kinda silly to sit on formalities. There aren't any
anxieties or anything like that for some strange reason - maybe I'm
just insane (either that or the fact that she reads worship books and
is still not brainwashed sold me on the idea). But it seems to me that
it's simpler to get a new job prior to school starting and go to
school in the new location than to wait out a year at 140 miles. Just
my thoughts. But I appreciate your sentiments. Ordinarily, I would
have been hesitant.


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