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Texas Leasing Laws | How To Break A Lease In Texas And What Happens

Have you signed a lease for your condo, house, or apartment? While you may hold the best intentions of staying in the place in Texas for the entire term, times occur when you may have to, or you need to move before the lease term expires. For instance, a change in marital status, a sudden shift in employment, or a family emergency. Times, if you have become a victim of a neighborhood crime or a disagreement with hostile neighbors, you may want to leave the place and leave the whole situation behind.

However, before you call the movers, here’s what you need to know about how to break a lease in Texas.

Tenant Rights And Responsibilities When Signing A Lease In Texas

A lease is a contract that obligates the landlord and the tenant for a set time frame, usually a year. Under a typical lease agreement, the landlord cannot raise the rent to change/ add other terms until the lease runs out with the expectation that the lease itself presents a clause for a change, such as a rent increase mid-lease.

A landlord cannot force a tenant to move out of the place before the lease contract expires unless you fail to pay the rent or violate another significant term such as selling drugs or throwing loud and noisy parties.

 In these cases, a Texas landlord must follow a particular procedure to end the tenancy. For instance, your landlord gives you a five days notice period ( unless the lease agreement cites longer or restrained time) to pay the rent or to move ( Acc. to Texas Prop. Code Ann. § 24.005) before filing an eviction lawsuit against you.

What Happens When You Break The Lease In Texas?

What is a lease? A lease is a legally enforceable document of a contract between a property owner and a tenant. In a lease, the parties agree to certain conditions that are applicable only for a specified timeframe. This agreement means that you, as a tenant, pay the rent on the agreed time frame every month for the privilege of occupying the property. On the other hand, your landlord agrees to maintain the property as suitable housing for the tenant to enjoy.

In Texas, most residential leases last for twelve months. However, if you decide to terminate your lease without any substantial cause, you must still hold up your term till the end of the remaining period. For example, if you move six months before the lease’s expiration, your landlord is liable to collect the rent for the remaining six months even though you no longer occupy the location.

However, the lease contract does not necessarily mean that you are stuck to paying the rent. The Texas law requires the landlords to put together every effort to fill the vacant spot at the earliest. Once the unit becomes occupied again, the previous tenants can stop paying.

Landlords must assemble an effort to fill the previous tenant’s vacancy but must not rent it to the first applicant. However, if it is different to find a qualified tenant, you could get stuck with a bill.

How To Break A Lease In Texas Legally?

Additional to the waiting for the scheduled expiration date, there may legally break four instances where a tenant can lawfully break an agreement early in Texas without consequences-

  1. Unsafe Living Condition: Any unresolved problem in connection to the building may pose a health hazard.
  2. Active Military Service: If you have a military assignment, your lease ends thirty days after you notify the landlord of the task in writing.
  3. Illegal Harassment From the Landlord: For example, if the landlord changes the locks, shuts down the utilities, or refuses to amend complaints.
  4. Victim of Domestic Abuse: In this case, the tenant must present the patient with evidence of a court-mandated restraining order to break the lease immediately.

There are other consequences-  if the landlord violates the terms of an agreement, that might lead you to break the lease. However, this strategy is too risky and may hold repercussions. This may lead to arguing in a court, which costs money and time, and even if you win the case, other potential landlords may remain reluctant to rent in the future.

The most feasible way to end a lease term is to have the contract expire at the agreed time frame. Most lease agreements hold provisions about the situation upon the lease expiration. Sometimes, the agreement renews automatically, but the parties may take up this opportunity to renegotiate the lease arrangement.

However, at the end of the lease, tenants can either move out of the house, fall back on a month-to-month rental plan, or renegotiate the lease terms.

How To Minimize Your Financial Responsibility When Breaking A Lease In Texas?

How to break a lease in Texas early if you don’t have any legal justification? There are better options than just moving out of the place and hoping that your landlord finds a new tenant at the earliest.

There are lots of options that you can opt to limit the amount of money you need to finance your landlord and help ensure to obtain a good reference from the landlord when you are searching for your next place to occupy.

You can aid the situation a lot by presenting as much notice as possible. You can write a sincere letter to your landlord explaining the need and reason to terminate early before the lease expiration date.

You can also offer the landlord a qualified replacement tenant, an individual with good credit and excellent references, to sign and contract a new lease agreement with the landlord.


Before you think of how to break a lease in Texas, you should seek a professional for legal guidance. Before you let your friends and family members lug your furniture across town in the back of a movers truck, you should seek a professional to help you move. This article will guide you through the terms, negotiations, and consequences.