Professional Athletes Breaking their Residential Lease


The life of a professional athlete is unsettling at best.  It is a rare athlete indeed that remains with one team the entire life of their playing career.  Trades happen, as does free agency, and that means switching teams, oftentimes in the middle of a season, and that means, for many athletes, that a lease must be broken early.

There are other reasons, of course, for breaking a lease.  Sometimes an athlete is not fully educated about the area they have moved to, and they find it does not meet their needs.  Others may find that the home is not satisfactory, or that they want a larger home.  Sadly, sometimes divorce enters the picture, and the leased home is not needed any longer.

The terms of a lease are spelled out in the lease agreement.  Usually a lease extends for six months or a year, and if that lease is broken early, the tenant is responsible for paying the entire length of the lease.  The courts have ruled that certain reasons for breaking a lease are valid; they include the following:

  • The apartment, condo or home is uninhabitable because of severe damage caused by fire, flood, earthquake, or other natural disaster.
  • The tenant is called away for military duty
  • The tenant becomes seriously ill or injured.

The courts in most states have also ruled that the landlord must make an honest effort to lease the property in question as soon as possible after the lease is broken.  If the property is again leased, then the former tenant is only responsible for the amount of time the property sat empty, and not the entire length of the signed lease.

The penalties for breaking a lease can be severe, including loss of deposit and the payment of the entire lease, so it is crucial that an athlete understand this before signing a lease.  If those conditions are unacceptable, it is always your right to have a clause inserted in the lease agreement concerning early departure due to your profession.

Legally speaking, ignorance of the law is not an excuse and it carries no weight with the courts in the matter of broken leases.  Your best defense against stiff penalties due to the breaking of a lease is to know the law and protect yourself before signing the lease.® assists players/coaches of the NBA, WNBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, and Entertainers relocate nationwide by servicing your Real Estate & Relocation needs. is a licensed real estate brokerage in Las Vegas, NV, Marina Del Rey, CA & Beverly Hills, CA.

The Sports Relocation team is waiting to hear from you. Our primary goal is to assist you with all of the challenges related to transitioning into your new home. Visit us at or call us at 800-783-1421