Can I break my lease agreement if I feel unsafe?

UPDATED: Mar 26, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.

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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