If the house that I’m house renting has been broken into twice within a 5 month period, am I able to break my lease and go?

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If the house that I’m house renting has been broken into twice within a 5 month period, am I able to break my lease and go?

Asked on December 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A landlord is not  responsible for the criminal actions of third parties not under his or her control, so the fact that someone else has robbed you does not entitle you to terminate the lease--which, after all, is a contract--between you and the landlord.

The only exception would be if the break ins occured because the landlord did not provide the reasonable amount of security that a like homeowner would in a similar situation. This mostly means that the landlord could be at fault if he or she did not provide doors or windows that lock, or any outside lights, and you could show that it was  this lack that led to the break ins. If that were the case, then the landlord's failure to provide the accepted level of security may be a  vioilation of the "implied warranty of habitability," or the obligation to provide rental premises fit for residence. In that case, you may be entitled to terminate the lease without penalty.


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