If I can prove that a prior tenant was a dealer, can I break my lease?

I live in a house where I am having repeated problems with drug dealers tresspassing and dealing drugs from my property. This has been documented with the police and the landlord. A neighbor told me that a prior tenant was a drugdealer. However,when I confronted the landlord she denied it. Are multiple acts of tresspassing and public urination enough to break the lease?

Asked on September 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, they are not enough to break the lease, unless the trespassing, public urination, etc. is done by the landlord, her staff, or other persons under her control. A lease is a contract--a contract between you and the landlord. It is not affected by the criminal or otherwise wrongful action of third parties who are not under the landlord's control, just as the landlord would not be entitled to evict you between someone you used to know harassed her, or trespassed on her property.

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