Can I break lease if I don’t feel safe at my apartment?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I break lease if I don’t feel safe at my apartment?

I have just currently entered a year lease with my apartment a week ago. I do not

feel safe at all; you can tell the neighbors are on illegal drugs and they leave their doors open with their kids running around. When I checked it out, she said she didn’t have any complaints about neighbors and that they were good neighbors. I want to break the lease after just a week. If they sue me, could I have a potential of winning if I don’t feel safe?

Asked on April 21, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, not feeling safe due to a fear of neighbors, even other tenants, is not a valid reason to terminate a lease. A lease is a contract between you and the landlord; like any other contract, party A can terminate it if party B violates it in a signficant way, but cannot violate it because of the actions of, or a fear of, persons C, D, E, etc. who are not parties to that contract. Your neighbors are not parties to the lease between you and your landlord; unless the landlord is violating its lease obligations in some signficant way, you cannot treat the lease as terminated. That means that if you break the lease and they sue you, they will have a very good chance of winning and forcing you to pay the balance of the rent you would have paid for the rest of the lease term.

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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