CanI break my lease due to a noisy neighbor that nothing is being done about?

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CanI break my lease due to a noisy neighbor that nothing is being done about?

I live in a apartment complex and have had noise problems with both upstairs neighbors on and off since I moved in about 9 months ago. Lately it has every night for about 2 weeks coming from the third floor. I have called the apartment’s courtesy officer almost every night it has happened but he either doesn’t answer his phone or wait until the next day to respond when no one is home at the apartment that is making the noise. The office has sent out letters to the entire building about the noise but that has done nothing to stop it. What can I do?

Asked on November 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Sufficiently disruptive and loud neighbors might provide grounds for what is known as "constructive eviction" on the grounds that you can no longer stay in your unit and are effectively being forced out. Although, to make a claim for constructive eviction requires a high threshold of proof. Typically, it takes something significant and repeated to provide grounds to terminate a lease this ground.

There is also another avenue that you can pursue. Every residential lease contains what is called an "implied warranty of quiet enjoyment". In a case such as this you could claim a breach of that covenant and either terminate your lease or withhold rent until the breach has been rectified.

However, there are various rules/procedures that must be followed and utilized in pursuing of these remedies. Doing so could lead to a whole other set of problems with your landlord. Frankly it's probably time to consult with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant cases. You may also want to speak with a tenant's rights advocacy group.


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