How canI get out of a lease if a neighbor’s dog puts me in fear for my safety?

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How canI get out of a lease if a neighbor’s dog puts me in fear for my safety?

I signed a lease with a private owner 2 weeks ago but I never moved in because the neighbors have a huge dog that my son and I are afraid of. The owner said there’s nothing that he can do about the dog because he doesn’t own that apartment. I paid him $500 ($400 rent + $100 deposit). I can’t live there because of the dog so I would like my money back and to get out of my lease. The lease I signed was someone’s old lease. He took the old lease & white-out the old tenants info and I signed it. You can still see some of their info. Is this a way to get out of the lease?

Asked on September 10, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Mississippi

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The landlord is right: it is not his dog and he can not control it.  You have a right to be and feel safe in your apartment and the landlord has a certain amount of obligation to insure your safety, like locks on doors and windows, etc. But what he can do about the neighbor's dog may really be limited. If the neighbor lets the dog roam around unleashed and without a fenced in area then possibly he is violating city or county ordinances regarding animals of that kind and you can make sure that he follows the law by reporting him if he is in violation.  And the old lease issue is odd but you signed it anyway.  I think that you may be stuck here.  Seek help in your area with the lease itself.  Good luck.


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