Can I be released from my lease early if landlord breaks lease and/or fails to disclose a health and safety issue?

We have a lease through 4/30/11 but it states that as of 1/31/11 landlord can decide to sell property or continue as rental. This summer we were informed that he decided to sell 10/1/10. He moved out-of-state and hired property management company (with fee for this added to our rent). We found a great deal to build a new home. We informed our landlord that we would be leaving 1/1/11. He informed us that he changed his mind about selling the property and that we had to fulfill our lease or be responsible to find new tenants for him. Also, he expected to receive $200 more than we pay from any new tenant. We also discovered radon gas removal system; we were never informed of radon gas in home.

Asked on September 28, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First I must state that you need to take your lease and any and all additional documents to an attorney to actually read.  It is very confusing to deal with these type of issues in this type of forum without benefit of reading the contract.

Now, did he or the management company advise you in writing or by email of their intent to exercise the option to sell?  I hope so or I hope at least that there were witnesses if it was done verbally.  My concern is that the notification complies with the lease requirements.  Next, the added rent bugs me. I really think that you may be being ripped off on that matter.  Ask the attorney specifically on the issue (there are "added rent" provisions in some leases but not for the reasons you stated). The management company is his problem not yours at this point in the lease. 

As for the radon, you would have to check your state laws on the matter but it is without a doubt a genuine concern and a landlord's duty to disclose must be addressed.  I think that you have a good case for getting out of the lease with a little pushing.  It may just cost you some leverage in attorney's fees.  Good luck. 


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