In Michigan, there are two ways a tenant may break a lease without penalty, and both require the landlord's consent. According to a booklet provided by the Michigan Legislature, "Tenants and Landlords: A Practical Guide," you can negotiate an early-termination agreement with your landlord, or you can find a new tenant for the property. The latter is not the same as subleasing, which still leaves the primary renter responsible for the original lease terms. Other circumstances, such as the landlord failing to maintain the rental, do not permit a renter to break a lease without penalty unless a court sets it aside.
Mutual Agreement to End a Lease
Speak with your landlord and explain why you need to break the lease. The landlord may expect some reasonable compensation.
Negotiate an agreement that you and your landlord can accept. This will involve some give and take. After all, you did sign the lease. Still, if you have a valid circumstance, it may be in both your interest and the landlord's to terminate the lease early.
Put the agreement in writing; both you and your landlord should sign it. The agreement should specifically state all conditions for the early lease termination without penalty.
Assignment of a New Tenant
Talk to your landlord about your need to break your lease early. Explain that you understand breaking the lease will create an inconvenience for the landlord and that you would like to help him find a tenant to take over the lease. This is not the same as subleasing; the new tenant will take over your lease and deal directly with your landlord.
Find a new tenant for your landlord through advertising or recommend someone you already know. Your landlord has the right to make the final determination on whether to accept the new tenant.
Ask your landlord for a written statement assigning your lease to the new tenant and releasing you from all your lease obligations.
- new apartment building image by green308 from Fotolia.com