Can we break our lease due to violations of the contract by the rental property company?

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Can we break our lease due to violations of the contract by the rental property company?

We got a new upstairs neighbor and his noise level goes beyond normal; this is in violation of the lease and city ordinances. We complained multiple times to the office but to no avail. We filed a complaint with the BBB. The regular manager said that we could move to another apartment within same complex but at our expense; also it was not yet ready for us to move into. We did not accept. They then said that we had 72 hours to vacate or it’s business as usual. Can they do this? What are our rights to move without consequence? We just want to leave by the end of the month.

Asked on March 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

All leases come with a right to "quiet enjoyment"--the right to use the leased property free from unreasonable disturbance. Sometimes this is an explicit term in the lease, but even when not, it's made a part of the lease implicitly. A tenant can enforce his/her right to quiet enjoyment, including against other tenants--the landlord must stop other tenants from violating this right. The problem is, if the landlord won't do this voluntarily, you would have to bring a legal action--that is, file a lawsuit--to enforce your rights. You should therefore balance the cost and inconvenience of doing so vs. the cost of the landlord's proposed option; maybe you can negotiate to something mutually agreeable (e.g. they give a month free rent or a rent credit of some amount to compensate for the cost of moving).


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