Do I have grounds to break my lease if I feel unsafe?

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Do I have grounds to break my lease if I feel unsafe?

In the last 3 months, my brand new car has been hit and caused $2500 in damages. As well as my apartment has been broken into and $3000 worth of things has been stolen. The property manager hasn’t contacted me or even came to my apartment to check out the situation on either cases. I feel unsafe going back to my place after dark and haven’t stayed at home in the last 3 days. Is there a way to break my lease without obligations other than losing my deposit. Also, my new lease just started last month.

Asked on August 4, 2011 Tennessee


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Is your new lease for a set term ( six months or a year) or a month-to-month lease? Is your new lease on writing or oral? If the new lease is in writing, read it carefully in that its terms generally control the obligations between you and the landlord over the unit being rented unless in violation of your state's laws. If your lease is a month-to-month lease, give your landlord the appropriate written notice now that you intend to vacate the unit rented and end your lease because of safety concerns.

If there is a provision in the lease about the landlord providing safe and habitable premisies, its terms will dictate how to you need to address the safety issues you are now concerned about with your landlord.

You should immediately call and write your landlord a letter (keeping a copy for future reference) about the safety issues and that he or she needs to address them in writing to you by a certain date with a plan to make the rented unit safer for you because the crime situation is now becoming a "habitability" issue for you.

The letter must state if there is no response by the given date, you consider the lease materially breached by your landlord and you will be vacating the unit within 30 days of the letter's date.

The property manager's undifference to your concerns shows an utter lack of responsibilty by the property manager and the landlord.

You should also contact your local landlord-tenant clinic to discuss the problems you are having as well to see if it has assisted in similar situations in the past.

Good luck.

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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