How to break a lease?
UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022
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How to break a lease?
I signed a 12 month lease with Austin Park ApartmentsWeidner and moved out
after 2 weeks due to roaches in the kitchen, mold in the bathroom, and suspicious
activity in the parking lots. Due to personal health reasons and the health of my
cat, I left the property to prevent any more exposure to pesticides or other
chemicals. They are billing me for 1200 keeping any deposits, what are my
options? I’ve had to move twice in one month and am replacing anything from the
kitchen or bathroom that cannot be washed.
Asked on February 11, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Colorado
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 3 years ago | Contributor
You probably can't break the lease:
1) A landlord does have an obligation, called the "implied warranty of habitability," to provide a safe, habitable place to live. But they have to be provided written notice of the issues and a reasonable chance to correct them. If you moved out after only two weeks, a court would (if you sue them for your deposit back, for example) almost certainly find that you had given them insufficient time to fix the problems, even if you had provided written notice--and if you did not give them written notice first and a chance to fix after receiving notice, a court would certanly find that the landlord had no fair chance to address the shortcomings and hold against you. Landlords have to have an opportunity to address issues after notice, and for things like roaches, mold, etcl, holes in walls, that's typically several weeks after notice, since you can't fix, exterminate, etc. instantly (you have to book contractors or exterminators; perform the work; come back and asses that it is done; etc.)
2) A landlord is not liable for conduct of other people, only for things (like mold or roaches or rats; or holes in wall, torn carpetting, etc.) under its control. So the landlord is not ressonsible for car alams sounding, for your neighbor yelling about her partner; about drug dealing in the area, etc. Many of the things you write about are not grounds to terminate a lease early.
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