How to break a lease on a NYC apartment


Breaking a lease could be happening for many different reasons. Maybe you’re moving to a different city or state or can’t afford your place anymore. It could be that you have a better job now and want to move to a better place. Maybe you’re simply seeking a change. Whatever the case may be if we are being honest, breaking a lease in NYC can be tricky and stressful. However, you can take steps to make this experience easier for your landlord and yourself. Join us while we take a look at how to break a lease on a NYC apartment.

Go over your lease before taking any action

Before you speak to your landlord or a possible new tenant, you have to review your lease. You may have read your lease when you first signed it. Then you probably put it in a drawer and never took a look again. Well, it’s time to open that drawer and revisit your lease. The first thing to look for is an opt-out clause. If there is one, read it very carefully and explore your options. You will also find details about breaking your lease. If that is not an option, you might have the subletting possibility.

Reviewing to break a lease on a NYC apartment
To figure out how to break a lease on a NYC apartment, take the time to review your lease and study your options.

Reading official documents can be overwhelming or simply boring, especially if you can’t stay focused on something that is not of your interest. However, in this case, you must push through and pay full attention to what you’re reading. If you study your lease well, your landlord can’t play you and tell you things that you did not sign up for. Therefore, study that lease like it’s your SAT!

This is how to break a lease on a NYC apartment

As we mentioned, there are a few ways to break out of your NYC apartment lease. Unfortunately, NYC landlords are known to be quite traditional when it comes to finances and it will not be that easy to break your lease. As anything, it’s not impossible, so let’s see what your options are.

The best case scenario would be your landlord saying “Oh, sure, you can move out without any obligation. Good luck!” Unfortunately, chances for this happening are very slim, actually, probably impossible. However, once you’ve studied your options on how to break a lease on a NYC apartment, you can have a conversation with your landlord and present the situation.

How to break a lease on a NYC apartment by subletting

A good option some leases offer is subletting. What does this mean? Subletting means you would rent your apartment to someone while your lease is still up to date and your name is on it. Once your lease is over, they can sign a new lease with the landlord. But this is a very good option and probably the one with the least headache.  A tricky part of this option is that, if the “sublet” does not pay, you are obligated to do so, since your name is still on the lease.

If you manage to do this and find someone who will be subletting your apartment, you’ll be able to focus on your move. You will be “giving” your apartment to someone but you will need to take your stuff. If you need to store your furniture, electronics, or anything else, you should check out storage NYC for all different kinds of storage possibilities. New Yorkers love using it!

Break out of your lease by finding a new tenant

If your landlord is nice enough and they trust you, they might let you find them a new tenant. You might already know someone who is looking for a place or someone who once came to your apartment and said they wish they were your roommate. Well, time to give them a call! This person can be your answer to how to break a lease on a NYC apartment.

A girl laying down using her laptop.
If you have an option to sublet or find a new tenant to take your place, make sure you pick the best person to take your place.

An important note is that in case you are renting in a co-op or condo, finding a new tenant is, unfortunately, not an option you can choose. If you’re not renting in a co-op or condo, this can save your life. Be aware that your landlord has the right to refuse the new tenant for any reason they believe is valid. They might believe that the tenant is not financially secure or they can simply have a bad feeling about them. That’s why you need to make sure you find someone reliable. If you find this person fast and you need to move out on short notice, you should consider using short term storage NYC to secure all your stuff until you figure out the paperwork.

Some other options could be hiring a tenant attorney, contacting a tenant’s right organization, or checking out the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project. These are all options that include legal action and they can be costly. We recommend you go with the less “painful” options and save yourself time and money. 

Document everything and secure your storage

There could be many reasons for you to want to break your lease. You are most probably breaking your lease voluntarily or because there are problems with the apartment.

In case you are wanting to leave voluntarily you should still notify your landlord in writing and let them know you are willing to find a replacement. If there is a problem with your apartment, make sure you document it if proof is needed. If there are installation or water problems in your apartment, make sure you put your furniture away and save it from damage. Use NYC apartment storage to secure your valuable pieces.

You may find a replacement and have to move out. Think about the possible scenarios and be prepared. If your apartment complex offers parking, the new tenant might have a car they need to park so you will need to find a quick solution. If you don’t have alternative parking, vehicle storage NYC can save you from trouble and offer space where you can store your vehicle. 

A girl in a storage unit.
Securing your storage is very important while breaking your lease. Make sure you have all your stuff stored and secured until you move.

NYC mini storage can offer you solutions regardless of your location in NYC but be sure to check out the storage in Manhattan first since that one is the easiest to access from every corner of NYC. You might have to run around the city to meet with possible tenants or get some paperwork done. Conveniently, your storage is in an easily accessible area in case you need to run and grab something.

What have we concluded on how to break a lease on a NYC apartment

Even though some people would not advise breaking a lease unless there are serious issues, explore your options regardless. You should use your soft skills and try to have an honest talk with your landlord. Don’t be defensive or aggressive, always try to find a compromise that works for both parties. Make sure you study your lease and know your rights as a tenant. Once you’re confident in your knowledge of the lease, you are halfway there and how to break a lease on a NYC apartment shouldn’t be a problem you have to worry about anymore.


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