Can I stop paying rent or move out if my landlord / association refuses to fix builiding elevator noise?

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Can I stop paying rent or move out if my landlord / association refuses to fix builiding elevator noise?

The elevator machinery room is located up in the roof. I live in the top floor, which is right below the building roof. When the elevator is working, it produces a very strong and uncomfortable noise/vibration that comes into our unit. We believe there must be something wrong with the equipment. We are constantly woken up in the middle of the night, have trouble falling asleep, and difficulties staying asleep in the morning.
Landlord and building associations say that this is just a normal sound.
Can I move out without losing my security deposit?

Asked on July 27, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no definite answer, unfortunately. A landlord has the obligation to provide rentals fit for inhabitation and to allow tenants "quiet enjoyment"--or the right to use their rentals free from unreasonable disturbance. A violation of either obligation (a place not fit for habitation; disturbing the tenant unreasonably) *could* provide grounds to get out of the lease without penalty, if you have provided written notice of the situation, given them a reasonable time or opportunity to correct the problem, but they continue to fail to do so. The problem for you is, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to when a condition or issue like this is so bad as to violate one or both of these obligations; it is entirely subjective. If you move out and the landlord sues you for the unpaid rent due under the lease, one judge may side with you, and feel the condition was do bad as to justify lease termination; another may side with the landlord and feel this was within the bounds of normal or reasonable elevator noise and you were being oversensitive, and force you to pay the rent. With something as subjective as whether noise was excessive, there is no way to know in advance what the outcome would be.


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