Published on October 16, 2012

Employee relocation often involves those who rent or lease their residence. Relocation policies should reflect this situation and offer assistance to those transferees in need. Monetary penalties for lease cancellation typically are manageable, particularly if the employer designs their policy carefully.

Longer-term leases, with extended time to run, can generate some larger monetary penalties, but cancellation fees can be negotiable. Employers can contain costs in this area by clearly describing assistance levels and capping maximum money outlays.

According to well-respected Worldwide ERC, the following rental and lease assistance features are common to competitive employee relocation programs. Since renters cost less--far less--than homeowners to relocate, competitive transferee programs are beneficial to both employer and employee.

Popular Rental Lease Assistance Features

Lease cancellation penalties--and assistance--should be capped. Lease contracts can carry a diverse range of penalties for early cancellation. Leaving your reimbursement or assistance language open-ended may challenge your cost containment and management goals. For this reason, many typical relocation programs cap assistance at up to two months' rent.

Assistance does not include reimbursement for damage deposits. As all renters are aware, landlords can have widely diverse "views" of cleaning necessities and/or damage repair costs. Employers providing assistance for this component are going above and beyond the norm. Once again, including this feature would be welcomed by employees, but could damage employer cost containment objectives.

Recognize common needs of renters at their current location and preferences (renting or buying) at the new location. Specifically including and noting your rental and lease cancellation assistance recognizes your concern for and value of your relocating employees who are not homeowners.

Popular Relocation Services for Renters

  • Complete needs analysis. While there are many requirements that apply to most renters, some employees will have specific needs. Addressing both the common and unique needs of individual transferees gives both employer and employee confidence in a smooth relocation process.
  • Lease cancellation advice, guidance and counseling. Much like selling a home in a down market, cancelling an active lease creates stress and uncertainty. Most employees have little or no experience in negotiating reasonable lease cancellation terms and penalties. Employers should offer useful advice and guidance regarding this important phase to help their transferees reduce stress and achieve a successful move.
  • Referral of experienced local assistance resources at the new location. Since the destination location is probably unfamiliar to the transferee, having a trusted local source of help finding a new appropriate residence, whether buying or renting, is valuable. Employers and employees both benefit from this feature, as the transferee gets settled in to a new home and becomes productive at the workplace quickly. Offering orientation of the new geographical area, showing preferred options during the residence hunting trip(s), and helping with lease or purchase negotiation, these sources achieve numerous goals, all of which save money, generate workplace performance and/or better bottom lines.


Outsourcing your needs to a professional, proven relocation firm, such as CapRelo, eliminates many employer administration requirements, employee trepidation and offers excellent cost management. Consider saving the extra workload and stress on your HR employees, while keeping your accounting and finance department smiling, by choosing this option.  

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As Worldwide ERC so eloquently states, "Renters are people too!" Give them the respect, as valued employees, that they deserve. Include a reasonable rental lease cancellation and assistance feature in your relocation policy.