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I am in an unfortunate situation where I may need to terminate a residential lease early. The lease has an Early Termination Clause which is about two months worth of rent + loss of security deposit, but allows for no more months of rent to be required to pay if the landlord takes longer to find a new tenant.

This is an ideal solution, but I am worried that this will still affect my ability to rent going forward. I was curious if, since this is a legal "out" for the lease, the Early Termination will still show up on my record for any future attempts at renting. Since it was done within the terms of the lease, can it still be used against me by future renters? When future landlords ask for my renter's history, will it simply show the months I rented, or additionally show that I left the lease early?

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It is really up to the credit reporting agency and the landlord.

A credit report may disclose truthful information and the credit reporting agency might have a defined event that they report which would constitute negative credit information. As long as the event described really happened and is accurately described, it can go on your credit report.

This happens, however, only if it is reported to a credit reporting agency. Smaller landlords generally only do this if they have a bad debt and that bad debt is referred to a collections agency. Some very large landlords report all rent payment information, good and bad, to a credit reporting agency.

Likewise, if a new landlord asks for a referral or reference from a prior landlord, or a list of places that you previous lived, and the new landlord contacts your old landlord, the old landlord is allowed to make a truthful statement about what happened.

Most landlords don't work routinely with credit reporting agencies, and many landlords say as little as possible about former tenants when asked for referrals to avoid a risk of defamation litigation. But, the possibility for negative consequences is there.

If you think a new landlord or creditor will actively investigate this incident, you might be well advised to explain in advance what happened to avoid surprises. But if you think that a new landlord or creditor won't ask, you may be better off not mentioning it.

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