Is a “hostile living environment” an actual legal reason to break a lease?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2012

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Is a “hostile living environment” an actual legal reason to break a lease?

My roommate and I aren’t getting along but we signed a year long lease for our townhouse and there are 6 months left in it. She knows that I can’t afford the rent payment without her, so every time we fight she threatens to break our lease by claiming a “hostile living environment”.

Asked on February 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Mexico


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Well, there is a basis in the law for breking a lease or bringing an action based upon a hostile living environment but your room mate has mis directed the use of the term.  It is used when a tenant is being harassed by the owner or child of the owner or management company.  It has nothing at all to do with you two as roommates.  Her eis what you tell her: you both signed the lease and she has no basis upon which to legally break it with the landlord.  I she chooses to move out she is still liable under the law for the rent and a judgement is likely should she not pay it.  Maybe you should look for a new room mate and ask the landlord to substitute her on a new lease.  Good luck.

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