FAQ: I want to terminate my lease early?

Authored By: Georgia Legal Services Program® LSC Funded

FAQ: I want to terminate my lease early?

I notified my landlord that I would be terminating the lease early. According to the lease, I must pay the equivalent of one month's rent in order to terminate the lease early. Am I required to pay the early termination fee even if the landlord did not lose a month's rent?  

Where the lease identifies an amount that must be paid if the lease is terminated before it expires, a tenant can generally be charged that amount. If the parties to the lease agree what the damages for early termination will be, the damages are said to be liquidated. Such lease terms will be enforced if the damage caused by the termination is difficult to estimate and the agreed amount is a reasonable estimate of the landlord's loss and the expenses caused by the termination. The early termination fee should not be so high that it penalty for terminating. In the alternative, some leases may not allow for an early termination and may require the tenant to pay the rent for the months that remain under the terminated lease.

Last Review and Update: Jul 25, 2011