woman packing after breaking apartment lease

What Happens If You Break An Apartment Lease Early In South Carolina?

Many life factors can lead to someone breaking their apartment lease early, such as needing to relocate for a new job, moving home to handle a family emergency, or relocating to receive medical care. While it’s understandable that someone may need to relocate and break an apartment lease, this can have financial consequences through fees, paying your remaining rent, and a loss of security deposit.

An early apartment lease termination could be problematic, so let Carolina Payday Loans, Inc. tell you about the downsides and exemptions you may have from these consequences. In this break apartment lease guide, you’ll learn what happens if you move out long before your lease ends. It will also show how a South Carolina payday loan can help pay for unexpected expenses, like sudden moving costs.

What Happens If You Break An Apartment Lease Early In South Carolina?

Before moving into a South Carolina apartment, you must sign a lease, which is a rental agreement with terms you must agree to. Part of these terms covers what happens with lease breaking because you have to move or don’t desire to live in the apartment anymore. Even if your reason for moving is understandable, you could face significant financial and legal consequences.

Breaking an apartment lease early in South Carolina could cause you to face one or more of these issues:

1. Pay A Predetermined Lease Termination Fee

You might be charged a predetermined amount of money as a ‘lease termination fee’ or penalty. In some cases, the amount could be equivalent to a flat fee or two months of rent.

Of course, the exact amount you owe will depend on the original terms of your lease, so always be sure to read the fine print. If there is no lease termination fee outlined in your rental agreement, you can terminate an apartment lease without having to pay significant fees.

woman stressed after breaking apartment lease to move out

2. Pay Remaining Rent

Besides the lease termination fee, you might also have to continue paying any remaining rent for your lease until the owner finds a new tenant. According to South Carolina law § 27-40-730 (c), an unexplained absence of fifteen days can lead to a default in payment.

After an early apartment lease termination, the landlord must make a reasonable effort to rent the apartment out to a new tenant. This involves allowing potential tenants to see the apartment and receive fair-value offers to live in the apartment. Landlords cannot actively avoid allowing a new tenant to move in.

Until the landlord finds a new tenant, you are on the hook to pay for rent. You must pay the same monthly rate you would if you still lived in the apartment. This stops once the landlord finds a new tenant.

3. Lose Your Security Deposit

Apartment leases typically include a security deposit that you pay before moving in. Breaking your lease early could mean losing that deposit for the owner to cover any costs from your decision to break the lease.

For example, if you leave any damage behind, they might use that money to fix the apartment. A landlord can only keep a security deposit if a tenant breaks an apartment lease early if this consequence was outlined in the original apartment lease.

4. Lowered Credit Score

If you left debts unpaid when you broke your apartment lease, this can get reported to credit unions and lead to a lower credit score. Leaving an apartment early does not lower your credit score, but failing to pay debts does. A lowered credit score caused by an early apartment lease termination can affect your ability to secure a home or auto loan in the future.

5. Landlords Can Pursue Legal Action For Breaking A Lease Early

The apartment owner could also take legal action against you for failing to honor the terms of your lease. This will mostly have to do with the landlord getting you to pay for unpaid rent and cover the costs of any damages done to the rental property.

Unfortunately, that kind of legal action against you could have long-lasting effects if it goes on your rental history or credit score. The damage could make it much more challenging for you to rent from other owners in the future.

What Are Five Exceptions When Breaking An Apartment Lease Early In South Carolina?

As you can see, breaking your apartment lease early in South Carolina can lead to many negative outcomes. However, there are plenty of exceptions for you to move out and break that lease without experiencing any of the outcomes described earlier.

The following are five exceptions when breaking a lease early in South Carolina:

1. Active Military Duty

You can break your apartment lease early if you’re about to go on active military duty. When heading to a military camp or overseas you will not be held liable for paying your rent.

To be exempt from the above negative consequences, you must have been issued a permanent change of station order or been deployed for at least 90 days. You must also give your landlord 14 days of notice about your early lease termination.

2. Early Termination Clause

In some cases, your lease will contain an early termination clause. Read through this clause in your lease agreement and adhere to the terms to avoid early lease termination fees. This clause normally requires you to give 14 days of notice of breaking your apartment lease and explain your situation to your landlord.

They may be willing to let you out of your lease early for certain circumstances, such as job relocation, family health emergencies, and personal health problems.

3. Uninhabitable Living Conditions

Uninhabitable living conditions are also an acceptable reason to break your apartment lease early without punishment. According to South Carolina law § 27-40-710, apartment tenants can withhold rent for uninhabitable living conditions that the landlord does not go out of their way to fix.

Tenants can also break their apartment leases if these issues persist. This requires you to document the issues you experience with proof, such as taking pictures, and contact your landlord to fix the issues. If they fail to fix the issues within an acceptable timeframe, you may be able to break your apartment lease early.

The following are some uninhabitable living conditions that could lead to you breaking your apartment lease early:

  • Plumbing problems
  • Pest infestation
  • Electrical hazards
  • Building code violations
  • Roof leaks
  • Unstable floors
  • Cracks in the walls and floor
  • No heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer
  • No hot water

4. Landlord Harassment Or Retaliation

Apartment renters deserve a habitable living situation, which involves receiving fair treatment from their landlord. If your landlord is verbally, physically, sexually, or emotionally abusive, you can break your apartment lease early. You can also do so if they retaliate against you. For example, they may raise your rent or fail to service your apartment if you join a tenant union.

Document every instance of bad behavior from your landlord. You may have to go to court to receive your early lease termination and must prove with evidence that your landlord harassed you or treated you unfairly.

5. Mental Or Physical Disability

Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords must accommodate tenants with mental or physical disabilities. They must make reasonable accommodations to account for a physical or mental disability. Failure to attempt to do so or an inability to make the accommodations necessary to the tenant's needs can allow the tenant to break their apartment lease and move somewhere that could.

Can I Cover Emergency Costs With A South Carolina Payday Loan?

Those who are forced to move out due to a job change or family health emergency may have to pay for moving costs they are not prepared to pay for. They can turn to Carolina Payday Loans, Inc. to receive a payday loan.

South Carolina payday loans should only be used for emergencies. We advise only getting one if moving costs crop up that you cannot pay out of pocket. An SC payday loan can allow you to receive $100 to $550 to pay for urgent expenses.

The following are the required items you need for South Carolina payday loan approval:

  • Your driver’s license or another government-issued ID
  • A blank check from your active checking account
  • Your most recent pay stub

Start the process immediately by submitting the quick cash online form with your basic details. Soon after that, one of our friendly representatives will call to guide you through the rest of the process. This can include the in-person meeting where they verify your items. This meeting does not have to happen at one of our South Carolina locations; we can meet you at your home or office.

The in-person part of that process could take you as little as 30 minutes to complete. If approved, you could have the money you need as early as the same day or by the next business day.

signing apartment lease agreement

Contact Carolina Payday Loans, Inc. For Help With Urgent Moving Expenses Today!

Always remember to read the fine print before you decide to break the apartment lease so you understand the processes you must go through. This can allow you to avoid early apartment lease termination consequences, such as fines, needing to continue to pay rent or a reduced credit score. A lease termination can sometimes be justified, meaning you won’t lose money because of it.

If you do not have time to prepare for a sudden move, unexpected moving costs can arise that you cannot afford. Carolina Payday Loans, Inc. has emergency cash available to cover these costs. Receive a payday loan by filling out our online inquiry form and follow the approval process with help from one of our helpful associates.

Note: The content provided in this article is only for informational purposes, and you should contact your financial advisor about your specific financial situation.

Daniel Dewitt

Daniel Dewitt is a lifetime blogger with a finely-honed ability to break down, analyze, and interpret economic trends for the layman. He's fiercely invested in spreading financial literacy and helping everyday people gain the tools they need for their own economic success.