If there are serious safety issues at an apartment complex, what are a tenant’s rights if they want to move out?

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If there are serious safety issues at an apartment complex, what are a tenant’s rights if they want to move out?

My son is living in a 4-plex. He moved there about 5 months ago and signed a years lease. Since he has moved in they have had a few violent issues there at the complex with other neighbors causing fights, break in’s and guns being pulled out. A police report was made. Due to the safety of his family, which includes 2 small children, he spoke to the landlord. The landlord said that he didn’t blame him for wanting to leave but it’s not his problem. Further, he doesn’t want to return any of the security deposit or even any prorated rent. My son is not asking for all the security deposit but at least half. Can the landlord keep the deposit and the full months rent being that this is more of a violent safety issue?

Asked on December 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The landlord is not responsible for the criminal actions of others, and therefore the criminal actions of other people--even other tenants--do not provide legal grounds to terminate a lease. If your son breaks the lease, he will be liable or responsible for the rent for the entire remaining term of the lease (however many months are left), which can be taken out of the security deposit; if the deposit doesn't cover the full amount, the landlord could sue for the balance.


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