If my landlord has not performed the repairs he promised before move in, can I break the lease without loosingmy security deposit?

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If my landlord has not performed the repairs he promised before move in, can I break the lease without loosingmy security deposit?

My landlord verbally promised to repaint the apartment, fix broken cabinets, clean restrooms, etc before our move in the first next month (2 days). I have the keys but the place is in the same condition as we first saw it. My landlord is now making excuses fomaking the promied repairs; he says that he will do it once the resources (painters) become available. Our written lease does not state any promise from our landlord to make these repairs. However, the written contract does not have any clause on breaking the lease or early termination of lease. Can you please suggest how can I evacuate without losing my deposit?

Asked on June 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You are not in the best seat here and I think that you know that. You have entered in to a contract and all the duties of both parties should have been written in before you signed it.  Oral testimony is generally not allowed in these instances. But it may not be as terrible as you think.  I will tell you that someone needs to read the lease on your behalf.  Although you have given some of the important information here there may be more lurking that you are unaware of.  Now, my concern about the state of the apartment is not so much the habitability - which is a warranty that the landlord gives when renting that the apartment is fit to be lived in butit does not apply to everything - is that he will claim that YOU did the damage to the apartment.  Yes, I know, how can you be charged with doing the damage if yu have yet to move in?  You have the keys.  The allegations could be made.  Please go and seek help with a copy of the lease.  Good luck.


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