What is Renege?

Definition: Renege refers to the situation that a signed or a verbal contract is not met. In other words, this occurs when one party breaks his or her agreement with another party.

What Does Renege Mean?

What is the definition of renege? Businesses and individuals sign contracts every day. Sometimes contracts may be verbal, which makes them less formal. Yet, they still bear an obligation that needs to be met. Reneging on a contract requires delicate handling, especially when there is no ‘frustration’ or ‘impossibility’ for failing to meet an obligation.

People who run out of money and declare bankruptcy have a legally accepted reason to renege on a contract. But when someone reneges on a contractual obligation for personal reasons, it is very likely that the dispute will be unfavorably solved in a courtroom.

Let’s look at an example.


In January, Sofia signed a tenancy agreement for a vacation home in Miami. The contract would start in June, and Sofia agreed to pay her tenant $600 per month. However, in March, she lost her job, and her income declined severely. Also, her husband suffered a heart attack, making things even worse for the household income.

Given the mitigating circumstances, Sofia informed her tenant that she wouldn’t be able to rent the vacation home as agreed in the contract. Although Sofia had serious reasons to renege on the contract, her tenant decided to sue her. After a few months, Sofia won the case on the court due to reasons of ‘frustration’ and ‘impossibility’, which make reneging on a contract legally acceptable.

Because tenancy is controlled by statutory rules, defaulting on residential tenancy requires proof of mitigating circumstances. Also, in several cases, the tenant is excused if the agreement is not in the tenant’s main residence. However, since there are contractual obligations to which the tenant commits in writing, the law can be enforced so that the deal is met; unless, there are serious reasons that the tenant backs out of the deal, reneging on the contract.

Summary Definition

Define Renege: Renege means to go back on an agreement or contract.

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