Can I break my lease if I feel unsafe?

UPDATED: Jun 22, 2012

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Can I break my lease if I feel unsafe?

Resently there was 3 people murdered next to the building where I live, due to this I don’t feel safe at all but when I talked to the leasing office they want to charge me for 2 months rent, plus a penalty of 2 more months. It’s there something that I can do about this?

Asked on June 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that in order for you to break your lease early in such a situation, there must be fault on the landlord's part in some way. For example, if the complex is supposed to be gated but there is no working gate, or the front door to the building is left unlocked, or there are other tenants who are known to engage in criminal activity and the landlord fails to take action to remedy the situation. In those cases, the landlord's failure to correct a security flaw could give rise for grounds to terminate a lease. 

However, if the landlord is providing reasonable security and taking measures to maintain them but it's just that the neighborhood is very high crime area, then you cannot terminate your lease. The fact is that it is up to a tenant to check out the immediate area of where they will be living. So if the landlord is blameless, a tenant can be held to their lease; the actions of third-party criminals, does not provide a reason to relieve a tenant of their contractual obligations.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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