Can I break my lease agreement if I feel unsafe?

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Can I break my lease agreement if I feel unsafe?

We just had a man get shot in front of our apartment and the people who did the shooting try to enter our building. This is not the first time. The neighborhood is very bad and we feel unsafe.

Asked on March 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you most likely cannot break your lease without penalty. The landlord is not responsible for the criminal actions of third parties and/or for issues or safety concerns arising out of the neighborhood; since he is not responsible for them, they do not provide grounds to terminate your lease. The exception would be if the landlord is not providing "reasonable" security for your building. To determine what is "reasonable," look at what other, similar buildings in like neighborhoods provide; if the landlord is not rising to their level, you *may* be able to terminate you lease if, after notice from you of the security concern(s), he still does not take any action.


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