Early termination of long term lease

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01 Jan 2021 19:59 by Daniel678 Star rating. 2 posts Send private message


I’m currently in a sitatuion I hadn’t planned for. I have an apartment lease until June 30. I've been living here since late September. However I will be returning home because of family reasons. This has nothing to do with the pandemic or being unhappy here and entirely to do with unexpected events. Thus I will be moving back home in the next week. I’m also living in Madrid currently and will return back to the United States. 

I’m trying my best to find someone to take over my rental. I’ve even offered to pay for part of the monthly rent. However I’m still having difficulty finding someone. I’ve expressed that it isn’t possible for me to pay more than 2 months at most of rent. However the landlord is still demands I pay the rest. This obviously makes sense but I’ve been put in a circumstance where it’s just not feasible. 

I’m not sure what to do. I already have my flight booked. I’ll be leaving in a week. I said I can pay the most I’m able to before I leave but after that I’m really stuck. Will anything happen if I can’t pay? Will they get lawyers? Or will my credit score be hurt? They have my passport number and home address from back in the states. Will I get a criminal record against me if I can't pay? 

Any information or advice? 


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02 Jan 2021 09:51 by Kavanagh Star rating in Oil Drum Lane Newcas.... 1099 posts Send private message

Kavanagh´s avatar

Nothing. Just another debtor out of their jurisdiction.

There is enough in the world for everyone, but not enough for the greedy!

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02 Jan 2021 11:24 by acer Star rating. 1424 posts Send private message

Hi Daniel,

Not a good situation, but I would say that if you are as reasonable as possible you should not have a long term problem.  

Is your landlord Spanish?  If so that's a reasonable start as they do not tend to be as officious and more family orientated so may be more understanding.  You've probably paid a deposit which you'll forfeit, but that may be all you lose, plus any furnishings etc that you are obliged to leave at the apartment.

Personally I would be upfront with your landlord, but don't offer anything more than you intend to do.  But he/she may respond positively to this - the last thing you want is a difficult situation when you should be going to the airport.

You should not be at risk of a criminal record as this is a civil matter.  You never know but I doubt if the landlord will seek to have you listed on any debtors records.  But if this happens it will likely to be limited to Spain only and for a limited period.

I realise you say that the landlord is demanding you pay it all, but they would - probably just "tongue in cheek".  Many landlord's will see this as just a usual trading hazard.   The lease will not say you are obliged to pay in advance either.  Of course, at the very least you need to ensure that the rent is paid up to date when you leave.

The rental market in Spain is of course quiet at this time of year and generally picks up at Easter - your landlord will know this.

You do not specify the reason for your early departure, it is a longshot, but you may wish to check and travel insurance cover you hold.  The wordings vary considerably but there is a small chance that the policy may offer an indemnity to you depending on the actual cause.

You may also consider an early conversation with your Embassy just in case your landlord decides to be unreasonable.  

Good luck.



Don't argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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02 Jan 2021 12:30 by Daniel678 Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

I will have paid for the whole month of January before leaving. I leave January 12th. Specifically I'm returning because both my grandpas have been in the hospital and one will need surgery. Additionally my dad has been in the hospital as of this week which is what was the final string that made me decide to return. I've told them I can only afford a couple months of rent and that includes paying with the deposit. 

I have been honest and straightforward about everything. Yet there seems to be no willingness from their end. I've even offered to let someone sublet it and I'll pay for part of the fee as I could deal with that. But, this is about this option is the same as paying a couple months of the rent which is "sort of" what I have already told them I would do. I say sort of because I'd be paying with the deposit which technically the deposit isn't used for that. 

The only thing I haven't said is the specific day I'm leaving. I've just said I'll be leaving in the next couple weeks. The only reason I haven't told them the specific day is in case there are problems when I try to leave. 

im not sure if you have anything else to add after knowing some of that info as well? 

however thank you for the reply. 

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02 Jan 2021 13:50 by acer Star rating. 1424 posts Send private message

Thanks for yours - sorry to hear of the health issues of your family - I assume there's not any insurance to call upon (cancellation & curtailment etc).

From what you say it appears you've acted reasonably given the circumstances.

I agree you're best of not mentioning your date of departure - that might focus their efforts to your detriment. 

From the landlords perspective they will be doubly upset if the apartment is not left in a pristine condition.  You might consider arranging a professional clean - the cost should be less than €100 and that might avoid any lingering hostility - just a thought.


Don't argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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