How do you get out of a lease when your roommate has been sexually harassing you?

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How do you get out of a lease when your roommate has been sexually harassing you?

He’s been putting his camera phone under the bathroom door while I’ve been getting ready. I’ve noticed the blue light on; the one saying it’s taking a picture/video. I’ve noticed it twice now.

Asked on April 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your roommate's sexual harassment of you does not, unfortunately, constitute grounds to get out of  your lease. A tenant may terminate a lease without penalty (i.e. without being liable for rent for the remaining lease term) only when 1) the landlord violates some material or important term or condition of the lease; 2) the landlord violates the implied warranty of habitability or covenant of quiet enjoyment; or 3) due to events beyond the landlord's control, it becomes impossible to convey possession to the tenant--such as a major storm or fire destroying the building.

As you can see, as long as the landlord can give you possession of the premises and the landlord him/herself has not done anything wrong, you cannot terminate the lease without penalty. The landlord is not responsible for your roommate's sexual harassment, and your roommate's actions do not allow you to get out of your obligations to the landlord. You may have legal actions you may take against your roommate, and you should consult with an attorney to explore your options--but getting out of your lease is not one of those options.


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