What are my rights if my landord rented out the garage below me to a helicopter company after I signed my lease?

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What are my rights if my landord rented out the garage below me to a helicopter company after I signed my lease?

I’m renting out an apartment above a 4 car garage. After I signed the lease and moved into apartment. my landlord leased the garage to helicopter tour company. This means that jet fuel and choppers would be stored under my apartment and planes would land and take off 20 feet from my bedroom window all day and night (if they crash I’m dead). The garages do not have their own power meter; the landlord just wants to give me $50 over 3 months which is not OK. Can I break lease and get my security back? We have lived here less then a month.

Asked on May 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to terminate your lease without penalty. All leases come with what's known as the "implied warranty of habitability." This is the legal obligation that the rental premises be fit for their intended purpose--in this case residence. Things that make it unhealthy or unsafe to reside there can violate this warranty.

There is also what is known as the covenant of quiet enjoyment, or the requirement that the tenant be allowed to "enjoy" his/her rental without unreasonable interference by the landlord or other tenants.

Storing jet fuel (which has safety and health issues) under your apartment can violate the implied warranty of habitability; having planes take off and land withing 20 feet of you all day and night would seem to violate the covenant of quiet enjoyment (noise) also the implied warranty of habitability (safety).

These violations could provide grounds to terminate your lease without penalty and/or to seek monetary compensation (e.g. the cost tomove elsewhere). In addition, if the garage is not properly zoned for this commercial use and/or the proper permits have not been obained, it may be illegal for the helicopter tour company to operate out of it or in this neighborhood.

Therefore, from what you write, you seem to have rights which you can vindidate. You should speak with a landlord-tenant attorney about your options.


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