A Guide to Breaking a Lease in Arizona

In some cases, breaking your lease in Arizona may be legal, but you'll need to know the laws to avoid penalties.
Written by Andrew Biro
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Breaking a lease in
is only legally justified under certain circumstances, such as domestic violence or misconduct by your landlord, meaning a thorough understanding of Arizona’s Civil Code is integral if you plan on getting out of your rental agreement early without breaking the law.
If you’ve ever rented before, chances are you’ve signed a rental agreement or some other legally binding document that requires you to pay rent for a certain period of time, usually a year. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always happen on the same terms as your lease, and you may end up having to break it earlier than expected.
Choosing to break your lease is never an easy decision, but sometimes things happen that necessitate an early leave—whether it's a new job in a different state or a family emergency back home, the circumstances are sometimes unavoidable. 
That’s why
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When it comes to breaking a lease, Arizona state law doesn’t do much to guarantee a tenant’s right to early termination without penalties—but that does not mean legally breaking a lease is impossible. A tenant has the legal right to terminate their lease early in the following circumstances:
  • If they are the victim of domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, or sexual assault in the rental unit, a tenant may break their lease as long as they provide notice within 30 days of the assault and give their landlord a copy of a written report from a law enforcement officer or an issued protective order.
  • If they are active military personnel and receive orders regarding a permanent change of station, are being deployed, or otherwise required to move, a tenant may breach their lease as long as they provide adequate notice 
  • If they are being harassed as a law enforcement officer, a tenant may break their lease in the same manner outlined for sexual assault.
  • If their landlord breaches the lease or rental agreement or otherwise engages in misconduct, such as health and safety violations or entering without permission, a tenant can breach their lease and move out early, seek reimbursement or demand violations be remedied.

What are the penalties for breaking a lease in Arizona?

Should you be able to show that you are breaking your lease for any of the legal reasons listed above, you likely won’t be required to pay any extra fees before you can move out. But if you break your lease for a different reason, you could be facing some pretty hefty penalties—continued rent responsibility, penalty fees, or even a lawsuit, are among the most common.
Unfortunately, there are no one-size-fits all penalty or fee for breaking your lease in Arizona, but the maximum amount you may be required to pay includes:
  • The costs associated with finding a new tenant, such as advertising fees
  • The equivalent amount of one or two months' rent
  • However much rent remains to be paid on the lease
Depending on your reason for breaking the lease, you may be perfectly fine paying whatever fees are required of you, as long as you can get out of the agreement—but if you can’t afford to do so, there are ways of avoiding penalties altogether.

How to break a lease without a penalty in Arizona

If you intend to break your lease in Arizona without incurring penalties, you’ll need to send your landlord—either in person or through the mail—a written notice notifying them of your lease termination. The number of days notice depends on the nature of your rental situation:
  • If you have a fixed end date lease, you are not required to provide notice
  • If you have a month-to-month lease, you’ll need to provide at least 30 days notice before the lease expiration
  • If you have a week-to-week lease, you’ll need to deliver the notice at least 10 days before the lease expires
Once you’ve sent in your notice, the easiest way to avoid getting hit with a penalty is to find a new tenant to rent the property in your stead. If you can do this, your landlord may be less inclined to continue charging you rent for a property you no longer occupy, as they will not be losing money in your absence.
There are, of course, a few other avenues you can pursue, namely:
  • Thoroughly checking your lease. Familiarizing yourself with the terms of your lease can be an excellent way to avoid major penalties—your landlord may have even outlined the steps and fees associated with early lease termination.
  • Notifying your landlord well in advance. Even if you aren’t required to provide written notice, it’s always best to give your landlord plenty of time to line up a new tenant to replace you, as it can lessen the amount you may have to pay when you leave.
  • Negotiating with your landlord. If you can negotiate with your landlord, you may not have to pay early termination fees. Try to convince them that your early departure may be beneficial—it may allow them to set up a more competitive leasing schedule or rent the unit for a higher price.
Regardless of the method you choose, talking to your landlord should be your first step. Some landlords may be willing to let you move out early, especially if you give them plenty of notice or find a replacement tenant.

How to save on car and renters insurance in Arizona

As rent continues to skyrocket throughout the country, scraping together the necessary funds just to keep a roof over your head—let alone fed and healthy—has become increasingly difficult. Fortunately, that’s why apps like
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In some circumstances, yes—but as long as you’re able to quickly pay any of the associated costs charged by your landlord, including any ongoing rent or termination fees, your credit score shouldn’t be negatively impacted.
No, Covid-19 is not a legally justified reason to break your lease in Arizona. Despite its overwhelmingly negative impact on public health, individual finances, and accessible housing, the Coronavirus is not seen as a valid reason for early lease termination—but if you talk with your landlord, you may be able to come to an agreement, particularly if the circumstances are especially dire.
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