Can I break my lease if I feel unsafe?

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Can I break my lease if I feel unsafe?

Resently there was 3 people murdered next to the building where I live, due to this I don’t feel safe at all but when I talked to the leasing office they want to charge me for 2 months rent, plus a penalty of 2 more months. It’s there something that I can do about this?

Asked on June 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that in order for you to break your lease early in such a situation, there must be fault on the landlord's part in some way. For example, if the complex is supposed to be gated but there is no working gate, or the front door to the building is left unlocked, or there are other tenants who are known to engage in criminal activity and the landlord fails to take action to remedy the situation. In those cases, the landlord's failure to correct a security flaw could give rise for grounds to terminate a lease. 

However, if the landlord is providing reasonable security and taking measures to maintain them but it's just that the neighborhood is very high crime area, then you cannot terminate your lease. The fact is that it is up to a tenant to check out the immediate area of where they will be living. So if the landlord is blameless, a tenant can be held to their lease; the actions of third-party criminals, does not provide a reason to relieve a tenant of their contractual obligations.


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