Am I obligated to pay a re-letting fee and other costs if I break my lease due to a sexual offense committed against my children?

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Am I obligated to pay a re-letting fee and other costs if I break my lease due to a sexual offense committed against my children?

A man tried to get my child and 3 others in to his apartment to “play” with him while he stood in the door with nothing on waist down, all on different occasions . Our children were smart enough to come tell us, we all pressed charges. Now we want to remove our families from this situation this really is a safety issue and the office has told me that I must pay a re-letting fee and all kinds of little charges here and there. Can they make me do that when we are the victims? TX property code says no they cannot for sex charges; he is charged with 4 counts of indecent exposure with a child.

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether the landlord is at fault. Without in any way diminishing the threat, the trauma, or the need to do what is right to protect your children, if the landlord has done nothing wrong, the law does not punish the landlord by allowing you to terminate your lease without paying the appropriate amounts, fees, etc. So if this was an employee of the landlord, or if it was a tenant about whom there had been warnings, complaints, or who had engaged in prior acts like this, you would have a good case to terminate the lease without penalty, on the grounds that the landlord was at fault by not taking steps to protect tenants and their children from a known threat or a threat under its control. If however there was no prior warning of this, then the landlord did nothing wrong, and you probably cannot terminate without paying the appropriate amounts.


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