I work as a property manager in San Diego and have a few tenants who have recently elected to terminate their lease early that are not protected by the Military Clause. I understand that some people need to break their lease early as life does change, but it still got me thinking as I have not had any issues with these tenants in terms of payment, maintenance, neighbor issues, etc.
Per the lease agreement, the tenants are responsible for rent up until I find a new tenant (which may be until the end of their lease term) but in a market like San Diego this never happens. Besides the rent and the costs normally associated with move out (cleaning, paint, etc.) the tenants are also responsible for marketing costs (which are basically zero as I do all the work myself and do not pay to advertise) and commissions that have already been paid, but these again are usually very minimal fees that are not really making any of my tenants think twice about leaving early. Has anyone had success with a flat rate early termination fee in the past? I am thinking at least a month as I should be able to fill my vacancy well before then and therefore keep the "Penalty" fee and increase my revenue if a tenant chooses to leave early. In an ideal world this will never happen, but just wanted everyone's input.
@Tom Dunivin I am in super hot DFW market and we have the same situation here. I charge my tenants 1/2 month rent to break the lease if they give me 30-day notice and I find next tenant BEFORE they leave. Otherwise, it's 1-month rent penalty. I think it's fair to both sides.