If my college roomate had his whole family living in the apartment at some point and the landlord failed to evict him, can I break my contract?

For the last 3 months, my roommate has had his whole family living in the

apartment it broke the lease agreement I was forced to live with him and his

family, is it grounds to break my lease? He has personally threatened me

in the past.

Asked on March 14, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It may be grounds to break your lease, under the theory that by not taking action against a disorderly tenant (the threat) and an excessive, illegal number of occupants, the landlord has denied you the "quiet enjoyment" to which you are entitled, particularly if you have provided the landlord written notice of the issue. The problem is, this ground for early termination of a lease is very subjective, and if sued for the rent you'd otherwise owe by the landlord, a judge could rule that because the problem was what your own roommate was doing, and not any action of the landlord him/herself, that you were not entitled to break the lease but instead should have sued your roommate for his disturbances. So while you may be able to safely break your lease under these circumstances, you cannot absolutely count or rely on being able to do so.


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