Can I break a lease due to uninformed railroad noise?

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Can I break a lease due to uninformed railroad noise?

I have recently signed a one year lease to an apartment. Since day 1, I have not
been able to sleep soundly due to railroad tracks blaring horns. The tracks are
about 100-200 feet away. The broker has not informed me upon moving in and
when I told then they said ‘no one has ever made a complaint about this in the
past 8 years.’ Regardless, I would like to know if I am able to legally break this
lease. I do not know how to measure the noise levels, how to prove that it affects
me, or what kind of laws would be able to protect/support me if there are any.
The fact is that I cannot sleep and the broker is wanting 4 months rent an early
termination fee to leave.

Any information would help. Thank you.

Asked on November 5, 2016 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not break the lease based on what you write:
1) The railroad noise is not something under the landlord's control; you can typically only break a lease if the *landlord* is violating your rights or the lease in someway, but they are not responsible for railroad noise.
2) The presence of a railroad is *not* a hidden or latent condition about which they must inform you or of which they must disclose; rather, it is a publically obvious and reasonably discernable condition--i.e. you could have seen the railroad tracks if you looked around the neighborhood before renting or checked some online source, like Google Earth, about the area. If a condition is something the tenant could have easily found out for himself, the landlord and his broker have no obligation to disclose it and no liability for not disclosing it.


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