CanI break my lease due to harassment by my landlord?

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CanI break my lease due to harassment by my landlord?

My landlord calls comes to my place of work if rent is 1 day late, threatens to put my stuff in the road, and threatens to change locks. Is this enough to break my lease under the tenant laws? I do have the voicemail of him saying that he would put my stuff on the street. Also, people at work report that he came there looking for me when rent wasn’t even 24 hours late. The lease says that I have 5 days and after that I have a 5% late fee.

Asked on April 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What attorneys try and do is to take the facts as imparted to them by their client and see if they fit under any theory of law in order to state what is known as a "cause of action."  Landlord tenant law deals not only with the rights and liabilities under the established law in the state but contract law, as the lease is a contract between the parties.  The theory that I believe you need to try and use is illegal eviction.  But as with all theories under the law you will need solid proof.  Not just the voicemail but maybe affidavits from workers.  And maybe you need to send him a letter advising the terms of the lease agreement and that his harassment at work is putting your job at risk. If it does not end then seek legal help about breaking the lease.  Good luck.


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