Heartbroken AND Homeless: What To Do When You Break Up Mid-Lease

Well, crap. You’re breaking up with your significant other—and, horror of horrors, you’re living together. What now?

If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything without a mediator

Before you try to nail out the nitty-gritty, honestly evaluate whether you can do this amicably. If you’re feeling angry, vengeful, or just too hurt to discuss the details, you probably need some sort of mediator. This could be a good mutual friend who won’t take sides and will calm you both down, or it could be a professional.

Should I stay or should I go now?

First things first: who’s staying, and who’s going? Or are you both going—and if so, will your landlord let you leave without serious financial penalty for breaking your lease? Can you legally sub-let the space? However you decide this, try to do so with some grace. Understand that even if you easily choose who moves out, finding a new place could take some time, so try to lay out a reasonable time schedule. Decide ahead of time who will pay for what—is one person buying out the other’s security deposit? Who’s paying how much rent for each month? All the financial details should be clear so no one is taken by surprise, or given an excuse to throw a tantrum.

What’s mine is yours—except not

If there’s any question of who owns what, deal with it before the move. You don’t want to be banging on the door of your former home, demanding your grandpa’s record collection to a chain lock. Again, this is where a mediator can come in handy. Remember: compromise. The most important thing is that you both get out of the situation without too much bitterness.

The space between

As much as possible during this process, try to keep off each other’s toes. Maybe one of you can stay at a friend’s house, or at least sleep on the couch. If you’re staying and you’re partner is leaving, you might choose to absent yourself on moving day—unless he needs help. The process is going to be filled with enough landmines; keep a respectful distance so emotions are less likely to flare up.

Want to be really smart?

…nail out these details before you move in together. You can even have a “living together” contract. Might not be romantic, but at least you won’t have to ask the hard questions when you’re already hurting.

Have you had to move out mid-lease after a break up? Tell us how you dealt with it here or on Facebook!

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