How to break my lease at a student housing apartment complex?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How to break my lease at a student housing apartment complex?

I want to break my lease at a student housing complex. I’ve had issues after my complex required us to re-locate into a “renovated” apartment 2 weeks before finals after changing the date 3 times giving only 1-2 days notice and at one point less than 24 hours when they finalized the date. After getting the keys we went to go move in and the apartment was filthy, things we not properly installed (toilet, dishwasher, etc) and things were missing. There was no blinds and the movers provided lost my things which are still missing. Construction (still in progress) ruined items.

Asked on April 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Sounds like the apartment is what is know as "uninhabitable" and that the landlord  - the university I assume - has beached the "warranty of habitability."  The no toilet issue is a biggie to support that breach.  Do you have a lease agreement? For the new or the old complex?  That is the part that is confusingto me here. Why were you required to re-locate?  You have a separate issue with the movers but who made the contract with them: you or the college?  Were they licensed and bonded?  Then you need to make an insurance claim for the items that were lost.  You need to take pictures of the conditions and go down to landlord tenant court and request that the breach be repaired.  Let me tel you that the court does not just let you out of a lease.  They give the landlord the opportunity to repair the problem first.  If they do not or can not then you can break the lease.  In the meantime you can ask for an abatement of the rent (money back) and pay the money in to court.  Good luck.   

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, you may have grounds to break the lease, but you should consult with an attorney before doing so--breaking a lease in an improper fashion can result in you being liable for the full remaining rent due. Among other things, you'll want the attorney to review the lease (which is a contract, after all, so its terms will control) to see what it provides in relation to termination.

That said, as a general rule, if a rented premises is not habitable for its intended purpose (e.g. dirty; unhygienic; toilet not working; etc.), then that is grounds to do one or more of: force repairs; receive compensation; terminate the lease.

Similarly, if the landlord (the school) violated the lease, that will give you grounds to recover damages or terminate; so if they promised one apartment, for example, but moved you to another without the lease having reserved the right to change the apartments, that may constitute grounds to break the lease.

Missing or broken items would not be grounds to terminate a lease; however, you could sue for compensation, and if you end up litigating anyway, it would make sense to add this claim.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption