If I live in an apartment and my neighbor has a medical marijuana card, can I brake my lease?

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If I live in an apartment and my neighbor has a medical marijuana card, can I brake my lease?

My neighbor may or may not have a medical marijuna card. I have 3 children when he smokes it smells up thf building. Can I get out of my lease without penalty or am I stuck until my lease ends?

Asked on December 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot terminate your lease without penalty due to your neighbor's marijuana use:

1) If he has a medical marijuana card and is smoking it legally, he is obeying the law and doing something he has a right to; you cannot terminate your own contractual obligations because someone else is doing something he has a right to do.

2) If he is smoking illegally, you *still* can't terminate your lease; the lease is a contract between your landlord and yourself, and your obligations to the landlord, and the landlord's rights (such as to receive rent from you) are not affected by the criminal activities of third parties not under the landlord's control, including your neighbors. You could however, in this case, report the marijuana to the police; if your neighbor is arrested, that may stop the smoking.


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