Can I transfer or break my lease without penalty since my landlord did not make necessary repairs?

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Can I transfer or break my lease without penalty since my landlord did not make necessary repairs?

I have been living in my apartment with my husband and 2 kids for 4 months now. When we moved in our freezer wasn’t working properly and we had to go buy a new freezer to hold food. Then I noticed a crack in the wall that has now turned grayish black. I have called about it and have not had it fixed. Everytime the maintenance man come in he breaks something else like the drywall. And my neighbors smoke weed on a daily basis and it comes into my apartment; management isn’t doing anything. Is there anything we can do to get out of our lease without paying $2000?

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  There are a few things that you can do here and that you should consider trying rather than breaking your lease, which could cost you plenty.  First you can go down to the local landlord tenant court and file a complaint that the landlord has breached the warranty of habitability for the apartment.Indicate that there exists conditions that you believe threaten your children's health.  Also indicate that there exists illegal activity from neighbors and that your landlord and their managers are ignoring the situation.  Mention the freezer not working.  Ask to pay your rent in to court.  That will get the attention of the managing agent and the landlord.  The court will allow them the opportunity to repair the problems.  You can report back each month as to the progress.  If they do not fix it then you can ask to be let out of your lease.  Also, ask for an abatement - reduction - of the rent tfor the time that this has been going on.  Good luck.


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