If my roommates are creating a hostile living environment for me, am I able to move out without having to be responsible for rent?

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If my roommates are creating a hostile living environment for me, am I able to move out without having to be responsible for rent?

I have a few months left with some roommates and the living conditions and situation have become bad. One of the roommates is violent and they also have pets that they have stopped taking care of. Can I leave and stop paying rent and be protected by the law?

Asked on January 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you cannot break your lease without remaining liable to the landlord for the remaining months and rent, when a roommate is violent. A lease is a contract; a contract may only be terminated if the *other party* to the contract--in this case, the landlord--breaches or violates it in some significant way. The wrongful actions of either third parties or someone one "your side" of the contract--for example, one of your roommates--does not deprive the landlord of its rights under the lease, or entitle you to get out of your lease obligations to the landlord.


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