As a tenant, the process of finding a new apartment or rental property can be both daunting and time-consuming. However, if you decide to break your lease early or move out before its expiration date, you may be surprised to find that your landlord may charge you an additional fee called a reletting fee.
What is a Reletting Fee?
A reletting fee is a charge that a landlord may impose on a tenant who wants to end their lease early or move out before the term of their lease expires. This fee is usually assessed to cover the costs that the landlord will incur in finding a new tenant to occupy the apartment, including advertising costs, cleaning services, and the expenses associated with showing the property.
Every rental agreement may have different terms regarding reletting fees, and they may vary from one landlord to another. However, they are typically based on the amount of time left on your lease and the condition of the property after you vacate it.
Reletting Fee vs. Lease Break Fees
A reletting fee and a lease break fee are two different things. A reletting fee is charged when you decide to move out before the end of the lease term, and the landlord needs to find someone else to fill the vacancy. In contrast, a lease break fee is assessed when you have the option to terminate your lease early, according to the terms of your rental agreement. In most cases, a lease break fee is charged as a penalty for ending your lease early, whereas a reletting fee is assessed to cover the costs of finding a new tenant.
Reletting Fee and Security Deposits
Reletting fees and security deposits are not the same things. A security deposit is a sum of money that is paid by the tenant as a security deposit at the beginning of the lease term, and it is held by the landlord to cover any damages to the property when the tenant moves out. The landlord must return the security deposit at the end of the lease term, less any costs associated with damages that exceed normal wear and tear.
In contrast, a reletting fee is not held as security for any damages, nor is it refundable. Reletting fees are not considered a security deposit, and they cannot be deducted from the tenant’s security deposit at the end of the lease.
What is the average reletting fee?
The average reletting fee is usually one month’s rent. However, it can be more or less, depending on the rental agreement you signed with your landlord.
Are reletting fees legal?
Yes, reletting fees are legal in most states, although some states may limit the amount allowed to be charged.
Can I negotiate my reletting fee?
Yes, you can negotiate a lower reletting fee with your landlord. However, it is entirely up to the landlord to accept or deny your request.
Do I need to pay a reletting fee if I find my replacement tenant?
If you find a replacement tenant, you may be able to avoid a reletting fee. However, this is entirely up to your landlord’s discretion, and it may not be allowed in your rental agreement.
In summary, a reletting fee is a charge that landlords impose when a tenant breaks a lease early or moves out before the lease’s expiration date. The fee is meant to cover the costs that landlords incur in finding a new tenant. Reletting fees are not refundable and should not be confused with security deposits or lease break fees. While laws governing reletting fees may vary by state, it’s important to read and understand your rental agreement before signing it. If you’re unsure about your reletting fee, don’t hesitate to ask your landlord or seek legal advice.