Did you sign a lease for your apartment, condo, or house? While you may have the best of intentions for staying put for the full term, there are times when you may need or want to move before the lease expires. For example, a sudden job transfer, a change in marital status, or a family emergency could force you to change your living arrangements. Of, if you have a disagreement with hostile neighbors or become the victim of neighborhood crime, you may just want to leave the whole situation behind. Before you call the movers, here's what you need to know about breaking a lease in Texas.
What Happens When You Break the LeaseA lease is a legally enforceable contract between a tenant and a property owner. The parties agree to certain conditions that apply for a specified time. Most commonly this means that you, as the tenant, pay rent at an agreed rate each month for the privilege of occupying the property. Your landlord agrees to maintain the property as suitable housing for you to enjoy.In Texas, most residential leases last 12 months. If you decide to terminate early without just cause, you must still hold up your end for the remaining term. For example, move six months before the lease ends, and your landlord could collect the remaining six months you owe even though you no longer occupy the location.However, the contract doesn't necessarily mean you're always stuck paying the rent. Texas law also requires landlords to make every effort to fill the vacancy as soon as possible. Once the unit becomes occupied again, previous tenants do not pay any remaining balance. Landlords must make every effort to fill the vacancy, but they are not required to rent to the first applicant. If it is difficult to find a qualified tenant, you could end up stuck with the bill.
How to Get Out of a Lease in Texas LegallyIn addition to waiting for the scheduled expiration, there are four instances when you may legally break the agreement early without consequences:
- Illegal Harassment from the Landlord – For example, if the owner shuts off utilities or changes the locks.
- Unsafe Living Conditions – An unresolved problem with the building poses a health hazard.
- Victim of Domestic Abuse – Show evidence of a court-mandated restraining order to immediately break a lease.
- Active Military Service – Your lease ends 30 days after you notify your landlord in writing of your military assignment.
Typical Apartment Lease Breaking Fees and PenaltiesIf you break your lease, you may be expected to pay the following:
- Future rents through the end of the least term
- Any back rent you may owe
- Marketing expenses to find a new tenant
- Cost of qualifying new tenants
Home to more than 2 million people, Austin is one of the country's fastest-growing metropolitan areas. Of course, there's a good reason for this trend. Austin has a thriving economy, low cost of living, and plenty of entertainment. It was even ranked as the second-safest city in the United States by the FBI. If you're planning to move to an apartment in Austin, consider the following tips for a stress-free and seamless relocation.
1. Check the Apartment's Moving RulesBefore setting a specific moving date, check with the apartment's front office to inquire about any moving rules. For instance, some buildings may mandate tenants to finish moving within two or three hours, or they may require tenants to use a secondary elevator.
2. Read the Lease AgreementYou should also read the lease agreement for your new apartment, paying close attention to clauses for decorating, painting, and renovations. The landlord may allow you to hang small photos and other decorative accessories on the wall, but you might get hit with a fine for painting. The only way you'll know what's allowed and what's not is by reading the lease agreement. Now’s also the time to figure out turning on or transferring your Austin utilities.
3. Rent a Hand TruckIf there's one tool you don't want to forget on your moving day, it's a hand truck. Also known a dolly, it's an invaluable tool for moving boxes, appliances, and furniture. If you don't own a hand truck, contact your moving company to see if they offer rentals.
4. Label BoxesDon't forget to label your boxes before moving; otherwise, they'll probably end up in the wrong rooms. A simple solution is to color coordinate your boxes according to the room. You can place a red sticker on boxes for the living room, for example, and a blue label on boxes for the kitchen.Apartment Therapy offers some helpful tips on how to label moving boxes. In addition to color coordinating, it also recommends labeling boxes according to priority, such as low, medium or high priority. This trick helps you know what to unpack first.
5. Save HardwareWhen you're busy disassembling furniture and taking down wall decorations, you may forget to take the hardware. Without the nuts and bolts, however, you won't be able to put these items back together. So, after dissembling a piece, place the hardware in a sealed bag and attach the furniture so it won’t get lost.
6. Take PicturesIt's a good idea to take photos of your new apartment immediately before moving in. If the landlord claims you caused damage, a picture can show your innocence. Just remember to store these photos in a safe location.
7. Get MeasurementsFinally, get measurements of your new apartment before moving. If a dresser or other piece of furniture is too wide to fit through the door, you may have to take the door off its hinges. It’s also a good idea to plan out where everything will go before the move. Check out our blog post on the best room design apps to help you with furniture placement and floorplans.Moving doesn't have to cause severe stress and anxiety. Following these tips will help you move into your new Austin apartment without pulling your hair out. For more hands-on help, call our Austin TX apartment movers. Our team is ready to assist with your relocation and make your apartment move easy!
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Planning move to lovely Newport News, Virginia? The area you've chosen to call home is steeped in history, rich in natural beauty, and full of things to do. Before you can settle in and enjoy your new hometown, you'll need to take care of the basics, like setting up utilities for your new home. Here's a guide to make your transition go more smoothly:
Electricity – Dominion Virginia PowerSince 1909, Dominion Virginia Power (previously Virginia Railway and Power Company) has supplied electricity to homes and businesses across Virginia. Today, as the leading electric service provider in Virginia, Dominion Virginia Power delivers power to more than 2.5 million customers in North Carolina and Virginia via 63,600 miles of electrical lines.To start or transfer your service with Dominion Virginia Power, call 866-366-4357, or click here to manage your service. Don’t forget to switch off electricity at your current residence on the day after your move, and be sure electric service at your new home is turned on in advance of moving day.
Water - Newport News WaterworksNewport News Waterworks supplies water to more than 400,000 people in the Hampton Roads area. If your new home connects to the public water system, you can activate service by calling the Waterworks Department at 757-926-1000.If your new property relies on a private well, be sure to have the water tested before moving in. Ask the current residents or the home inspector whether the water is potable, or if you'll need to purchase drinking water while living there.
Gas Service – Virginia Natural GasSince 1850, Virginia Natural Gas has provided reliable gas service to residential and commercial customers across the state. Now a part of the Southern Company Gas family, Virginia Natural Gas provides service to almost 300,000 customers in the Old Dominion state, including many households in Newport News.To start or transfer your gas service, complete a service request form here or call 866-229-3578 to speak with a representative. If your new home is already equipped with a natural gas meter, all you will need to do is create a new account. Virginia Natural Gas can also assist with converting your home to natural gas or adding a new appliance to an existing gas line. Compared to other utilities, gas service can take additional time to set up and activate. So, be sure that you contact Virginia Natural Gas well in advance of your move. You'll want everything set up and ready to roll by the time the colder weather rolls around.
Trash Pickup and Recycling – City of Newport NewsSolid waste pick-up is a category that is often overlooked by new homeowners and renters, especially if you've always relied on the local transfer station to dispose of your household trash. The City of Newport News offers weekly household trash and recycling pick-up, as well as biweekly bulk and brush debris collection services. To see the pick-up days for your street, check out the city’s pick-up schedule. Newport News includes a solid waste fee with your monthly water bill based on the number and type of garbage containers assigned to your address. To contact the Solid Waste Department, call 757-933-2311.
Cable and Internet ProvidersFor cable and internet service, there are several options available, depending on your needs. For cable, internet, or landline phone service, try Cox Communications (757-222-1111). Cox offers a 30-day satisfaction or money-back guarantee and bundled service packages to make managing your services easier.Another option is FIOS by Verizon (855-836-6071). FIOS offers some great package deals, so you won't have the hassle of juggling several monthly bills.Finally, for a satellite-dish option, DirecTV (866-229-3578) offers service in Newport News as well. Their monthly payment plan is affordable, but be aware that satellite dishes are prone to malfunctions during inclement weather.
Additional InformationIf you need additional information, or you'd just like a virtual tour of your future stomping grounds, visit the Newport News official webpage. Being well-prepared for the big move will ensure a stress-free — and perhaps even enjoyable — transition. Again, don't forget to cancel your current utility services before leaving your old home; you don't want to be stuck with double payments.To schedule Newport News moving services, call us today. Apple Moving offers local and long distance moving to and from the Hampton Roads area. Request a free moving estimate here!
Just east of the James River at the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula, sits the city of Newport News, VA. With a population of just over 180,000, Newport News is the 5th largest municipality in Virginia and the 4th largest in the greater Hampton Roads metro area. Many Newport News residents work in shipbuilding and shipping, industries that have long thrived here given the city’s coastal geography. Other popular industries include military, as Newport News is home to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, plus aerospace, tourism, and manufacturing. Excellent job prospects, a booming local economy, and a lower than average cost of living make this an attractive place for families to settle down. If you’re considering a move to Newport News, check out some of the best neighborhoods for families: