Can I break a lease without penalty due to the landlord withholding information about a known nighttime public construction project?

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Can I break a lease without penalty due to the landlord withholding information about a known nighttime public construction project?

About 3 months ago I signed a 1 year lease with an apartment building. A month ago the state started a 2.5 year highway construction project directly behind my building that works at night for traffic reasons, so 5 nights a week I hear jack hammers and heavy machinery from 9 pm-5 am; it is unbearable and prevents me from sleeping. The project was announced to the public 2 years ago. he company that owns/ manages the building had to have known but did not disclose this at the lease signing. What are my rights to break the lease without penalty?

Asked on January 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't break the lease unless you specifically asked a question, such as whether there would be any nearby construction, and the landlord lied; or the landlord went out of its way to affirmatively make an untrue statement in regards to noise or construction, such as saying it was a quiet neighborhood and you could be sure to get sleep. If there was some actual misrepresentation by the landlord like the above, you may have grounds to rescind the lease, on the basis of fraud. However, the landlord would not have been under a duty or obligation to disclose a public project which is not under its control, so if it stayed silent and you did not ask a question relating to noise or construction, it did not have to say anything, and you would not have grounds to terminate the lease without penalty.


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