Can we brake a lease for valid reasons without penalty?

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Can we brake a lease for valid reasons without penalty?

We have very valid reasons for breaking our lease just because we have fear for our safety. We have had the cops come to our apartment complex several times in the last couple weeks and 2 of our neighbors have been robbed and 1 beaten. But when we moved in we were given our first month free as long as the lease was carried out. If we break that are we going to have to come up with an extra month’s rent that we cannot afford? Or is that null with the valid reason for breaking the contract? Is there anyway around the penalty?

Asked on December 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you have a factual basis for ending your lease over the crime issue that you are writing about depends upon what your presumed written lease states. I would carefully read it in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If the lease does not allow you to end the tenancy because of crime then you cannot contractually end it on such grounds. However, if your landlord knew that the rental was in a high crime area and failed to disclose this material fact to you before you signed the lease, such failure could be a basis for ending your lease without recourse. I suggest that you consult with a landlord tenant attorney further about your situation that you are writing about.


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