How to end a 1 year temporary house lease early?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to end a 1 year temporary house lease early?

Among other problems in the apartment and my frustrating attempts to get it fixed with the landlord/real agent estate, I have a neighbor downstairs that is convinced the stink inside her apartment is coming from my apartment. She’s accused me of smoking hard drugs, which is not true. It’s been almost 1 month and she yells, hit doors, make a lot of noises day and night in an attempt to get us moving to another place or back to our country. I have made several complaints to

the police and the landlord, however no one is taking any action against this neighbor. I would like to know if it is possible and the procedures to end this 1 year temporary house lease contract earlier?

Asked on January 25, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to end the lease early, but be advised that doing so is risky: if the landlord sues to enforce the lease (i.e. for the rest of the rent you'd owe under the lease), it is possible that a court could find against you and conclude that you were not entitled to terminate the lease early and do owe the rest of the rent.
All leases come with what is known as the "implied covenant of quiet enjoyment": that is, the landlord is obligated to let you occupy and use your premises free from undue disruption by anyone under his control. Other tenants are indirectly under his control in that a tenant may be evicted for disorderly conduct, or disturbing neighbors' peaceful enjoyment (basically, their peace and quiet) in an inappropriate way; therefore, the landlord could threaten the other tenant with eviction and, if the tenant does not correct her behavior, evict her. If the landlord fails to take action when one tenant is harassing or disturbing another, that may be a violation of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment, which would allow the tenant being harassed to terminate the lease early.
However, as you can imagine, it is a wholly subjective (i.e. subject to personal interpretation) of when another neighbor's conduct is so extreme or disturbing as to warrant moving out: the law accepts that in a multi-unit building, a certain amount of friction with neighbors is inevitable, and only if the conduct and conditions are essentially intolerable (no reasonable person would put up with them) would a tenant be entitled to break the lease if the landlord failed or refused to act after written notice of the issue. One judge might agree that what you put up with was intolerabe and you were justified in leaving; another judge might not, however, and feel that the conditions were not so bad as to justify terminating the lease. In that event, you would be held liable for the balance of the rent under the lease.
So you could look to move out, but there is no way to guaranty that if the landlord goes after you for the rest of the rent due under the lease, that the landlord might not win.

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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