If I was threatened and don’t feel safe in my apartment, shouldI be able to break the lease without penalty?

UPDATED: Dec 19, 2011

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If I was threatened and don’t feel safe in my apartment, shouldI be able to break the lease without penalty?

My neighbor and I got into a verbal dispute over loud music and it was before 10 pm (quiet time). He started to call me names and threatened my life 3 times. I no longer feel safe living here. The manager said we can break the lease early but have to pay our months rent until a tenant wants to rent our apartment. My life is in danger- shouldn’t there be a ultimatum?

Asked on December 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your landlord did not cause this problem so unfortunately, it is not your landlord's problem per se. He is correct; he will allow you to leave (he cannot force you to stay) but as long as there is a lease in place, you will be responsible for monthly rent until a new tenant is found. This does not mean the landlord can sit around. He must absolutely attempt to mitigate his damages by advertising and using due diligence in attempting to rent the apartment. You can hurry this along by trying to find a tenant and have the prospective tenant file an application with the landlord.

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