Many renters from the Seattle area are coming to the realization that renting is becoming less practical. According to Zillow, in the last two years the median rate for a Seattle studio apartment has increased by $419 in Capitol Hill. This trend has also been seen in areas outside of Seattle with a $423 increase in Bellevue and $295 increase in Everett.
So what can you do when rent prices are becoming more expensive than a mortgage in Washington? You can buy a home! Now you may be asking yourself, “I would love to buy a home, but I have to wait a year until my lease agreement is complete.” While it is true you cannot just up and leave in the middle of your lease without notice to the landlord, there are things you can do and steps you can take to terminate a lease early.
The best thing you can do is to let your landlord know that you’ve got a great opportunity to buy the house but that you’re not sure what to do about your lease. You can help the situation a lot by providing as much notice as possible and writing a sincere letter to your landlord explaining why you need to leave early. Under Washington law (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.310), your landlord must make reasonable efforts to re-rent your unit—no matter what your reason for leaving—rather than charge you for the total remaining rent due under the lease.
You can help the situation even further by offering your landlord a qualified replacement tenant, someone with good credit and excellent references, to sign a new lease with your landlord. You can advertise the vacancy in local newspapers or online classified ads. If your landlord will not accept this you could also try and sublease the apartment.
The last option you can try is a lease buy-out. The best way to do this is to refer to your lease agreement to find out what kind of notice is required and the amount of penalty needed to buy out the remaining term of your lease. In some cases it may be cheaper to do this than to continue paying the lease for the remainder of the agreement.
If you have any questions about buying a home while you’re leasing, our team at RESG would love to help!