Going to jail is something we’d all ideally like to avoid. Since going to jail is typically not something you plan for, you might have never considered what happens to your apartment when you go to jail. The answer is rather interesting and might surprise you.
Even though going to jail seems like a huge deal, the basics of your rental agreement don’t change, no matter where you are. If you sign a lease agreement, you’re expected to pay rent for the duration of that agreement.
Laws will vary by location, but in many instances, nonpayment of rent leads to eviction. Anything that remains in the unit after a legal eviction can become the property of the landlord.
That means, if you don’t have enough money in the bank to cover rent throughout your internment, you could lose your apartment and everything inside it.
How to avoid losing it all
Fortunately, there are a few options that you may have to avoid losing all of your belongings if you’re in jail. The feasibility of these solutions will depend on the laws in your state.
Sublease your apartment
To sublease means that you find someone to complete the remaining term of your lease agreement in your place, so that the lease is neither broken nor are your responsible for paying monthly rent.
So, if you can find someone to sublease your apartment, they’ll be responsible for paying the rent and all the bills for the rest of your lease term. What happens to your stuff, however, will have to be decided between you and your subletter.
Attempt to break your lease
Breaking a lease is never easy. But in some cases, it’s possible.
How do you break a lease? There are no guarantees, and your landlord always has the right to say no, but you can ask. It can help if you have found a tenant to re-rent the apartment.
Even if your landlord does agree, conditions can include early-termination fees or forfeiture of the security deposit.
Work with your lawyer to sell belongings
One way to keep your finances afloat should you go to jail is to sell your belongings from inside jail. Obviously, you wouldn’t be able to do so directly, but your lawyer may be able to arrange the sale of some of your items so you can make some cash.
If your lawyer can’t assist, a friend or family member that has access to your apartment can also arrange the sale of some of the things you own.
Going to jail can be very detrimental to a “normal” life, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing your options is one of the first steps to avoiding financial ruin because of time spent in jail.