How do I Release a Rental Agreement?

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There are different circumstances under which a tenant may need to get out of a lease. For example, they may be called up for military duty, or the property may become inhabitable due to a natural disaster like a tornado. In these cases, rental owners should release the tenant from the lease in writing. Some properties provide simple lease release forms for the property manager to fill out, while others provide the same information the form would provide in a formal lease release letter.

Look through the lease and review the property laws in your state to verify the request for lease release is valid.

Talk with the tenant to figure out exactly when the lease agreement will end. Some states require 30-days notice and some require 60-days notice, and every tenant's situation will be different in terms of when they desire to move out.

Calculate any outstanding fees you owe the tenant or which the tenant owes to you.

Fill out the lease release form, or write the lease release letter. Regardless of which document you use, the lease release should indicate: the name of the lessor and lessee; a description of the property being rented, including the address; a statement clearly indicating that the lease is terminated; the date on which the lessor will reclaim the property; the date on which the lessee or lessor will pay any outstanding fees (e.g., return of security deposit, late fees), along with the amount of those fees; the signature of both the lessor and lessee; and the date on which the lease release was signed. The form or letter also should indicate that the original lease is attached.

Meet with the tenant and have them carefully read over the lease release. Correct any errors if found.

Sign the lease release and have the tenant provide his signature. Date the lease release.

Make two copies of the lease release. Place the original release in the tenant's file. Give one copy to the tenant. Send the other copy to the property owner or property management company, if applicable.


About the Author

Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website,, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.

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