Can I breach my lease if my landlord/owner didn’t disclose that he’s a sexual offender?

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2010

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Can I breach my lease if my landlord/owner didn’t disclose that he’s a sexual offender?

I moved in to a house owned by a man who i just discovered is a sexual offender. I have 2 kids, aged 9 and 16. I am worried, concerned, disgusted. We feel like caged birds. Had he disclosed that he was a sexual predator/offender, I never would have considered renting the house. He was deceitful. We share common area and he lives above me. Can I get my deposit back? What are my rights?

Asked on December 14, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If this is a single family home (sounds like it) and he is a registered sex offender, he may not be allowed to even be near children, let alone live in the same home with children who are unrelated to him or related to him.  First, check your state's sex offender registry regarding his conviction, what his limitations are and if he is currently on parole or probation.  Second, contact the police department and ask to speak with the investigator in charge of sex offenders and their whereabouts.  Take that information and see if that can be used to get you out of your lease (nice police visit can be persuasive).  Then, immediately demand your money back in writing and verbally and indicate to him that a material issue here is he is a convicted sex offender and your small children are at risk of being harmed.  You want your money back and do not take no for an answer. Make sure you have someone there to help you (a civil escort by police is an option).  Move immediately.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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