Even the most forensic of tenant screenings won’t stop a tenant from breaking a lease agreement. Renters are more transient in nature, younger and prone to moving around. Many are fresh out of school or still attending secondary education and things can change rather quickly for them.

When you and when tenant breaks a leaseyour tenants sign a lease agreement neither goes into the agreement expecting to default. But if your tenant sends an email to you and says, “Sorry, but I’m going to have to break my lease early. I have a new job.” What should you do?

Your lease should clearly spell out the consequences of a broken lease. At minimum you should have the right to retain the security deposit, typically one month of rent. But if your tenant is leaving six months into a 12 month agreement, that one month won’t do much good. Instead, provide your tenant with an option and let them have their security deposit if they provide a qualified tenant before they move out. In this way, you tell them, not only do they get their deposit back but it keeps their credit in good standing and you won’t need to sue them in court for the remaining balance. Usually this threat of a lawsuit is enough to get them in a quick search for a new tenant.

In today’s world of social media it’s not that difficult to get the message out on Facebook, tweets and Google+ for instance. The tenant could even provide a discounted rental rate and make up the difference. If market rent is $1,500 for example, your soon-to-be-gone tenant could find someone to rent for $1,400 and make up the difference to you directly.

Again, all of this needs to be in your lease agreements and clearly spelled out. Have the tenant initial the areas that discuss breaking a lease and what can happen. Most tenants leave on good terms and breaking a lease isn’t on their top 10 list of things to do. But there are ways to make sure they part on amicable terms.