What to do if someone broke in my apartment 7 days after renewing my lease?

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What to do if someone broke in my apartment 7 days after renewing my lease?

I told my landlord that I did not feel safe there and would be moving out a month before my current lease expired. Now they tell me I will owe $1600 because I already signed a renewal. I think they’re trying to get over on me. What can be done?

Asked on January 2, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The landlord is not "trying to get over" on you--the landlord is enforcing his plain legal rights. The lease, or a lease renewal, is a contract; once you sign it, you are obligated to pay rent for  the entire length or term of the agreement (or to pay an early termination fee, if such is in the lease) unless *the landlord* violates your rights as tenant in some way that justifies early termination. The landlord, however, is not responsible for the criminal actions of third parties not under the landlord's control--e.g. if some criminal broke into your apartment--and the criminal actions of third parties do not give you the right to terminate your lease early. Having signed the renewal, if you move out early, the landlord can hold you liable for rent and/or early termination fees, even if  you don't feel safe--your feelings simply have no effect on the landlord's rights or your obligations.


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