How can we break our recently renewed lease with minimum penalties?

UPDATED: Apr 12, 2012

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How can we break our recently renewed lease with minimum penalties?

We live in an apartment that we just renewed our lease; this past month was the beginning of our third year. However recently we have had some concerns with safety of the complex. We have a shared entry to our building (the kind where you have to buzz people in). Our apartment complex has had to fix the door to the building six times in the past 2 weeks because someone keeps breaking it. Also, while we don’t have proof, we are pretty sure someone has tried to break into our car the past few nights.

Asked on April 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you may not be able to break your lease with minimum penalties. A landlord is not responsible for the criminal acts of third parties not under its control; that means, among other things, that you cannot break your lease with the landlord due to the criminal actions of unrelated third parties.

A landlord does have an obligation, as part of the "implied warranty of habitability," to provide for tenant safety or security. However, the landlord's obligation is merely to 1) provide those types of security measures which a reasonable landlord would provide, and 2) to fix or repair any problems with those measures ina reasonable time. You describe a  situation where the landlord seems to be providing normal apartment building security (an entrance which requires that guests be "buzzed" in) and seems diligent about repairing the security when it is damaged or broken (you write  that they have fixed the door at least 6 times). In that case, the landlord is  most likely fulfilling its obligations. This may be a matter for a tenant or community meeting with the police, to see if  they can step up patrols or take other action.

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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