Can I break a rental lease if I have a sex offender living next door to me?

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Can I break a rental lease if I have a sex offender living next door to me?

I have 2 girls and moved out of my old place a month early because a sex offender lives next door. My oldest daughter overheard a conversation about him and began to have panic attacks at night because she was afraid he would come into the house at night. I had to move to provide a safe home for my children. When I told my landlord she said she had no idea he was a sex offender or that he was living there. I’m the only rentals with children and would think it would understandable for me to leave. She refuses to let me out of my lease a month early and has asked me to pay my rent for next month.

Asked on March 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, while your concern is understandable and commendable, the fact that a sex offender lives next door does not give you the right to break your lease. You can only break the lease if the landlord did something wrong--didn't honor lease terms, didn't rent you all the space she was supposed to, didn't provide habitable housing, etc. The landlord has done nothing wrong in this case--she is not the sex offender and is not threatening your family. The law does not allow you to "penalize" the landlord by breaking the lease when the landlord has honored her obligations under the lease.


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