How can I get out of the lease without being penalized because of the dangerous conditions outside?

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How can I get out of the lease without being penalized because of the dangerous conditions outside?

Last week there was a drive by shooting where a unknown man was shot twice. My truck was hit 8 or 9 by bullets fired by 1 of 3 man standing in the back of a pickup truck shooting a fully automatic assault rifle.

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the criminal activities of third parties not under the landlord's control do not give you the right to terminate your lease without penalty. The lease is a contract between you and the landlord; only if the landlord violates his obligations in some way, would you be able to terminate ("get out of") the lease. What other people do--even dangerous, criminal things--does not affect the landlord's rights or your obligations.

IF the landlord is not providing the type of security which other landlords provide for similar buildings in similar locations, and refuses to do so after you have provided notice that security is inadequate, then you might have grounds to terminate the lease for a breach of the "implied warranty of habitability." However, that does not mean the landlord must do everything possible--he is held to the standard of "reasonableness," which generally means doing what the average landlord in this position would do. So if most buildings like this, for example, have front doors that lock and an intercom system for nontenants to be "buzzed" in, as long as your landlord has provided that, he is most likely complying with his obligations and you would not have grounds to terminate the lease.

 


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