Does a tenant have the legal right to break their leasedue toa rude concierge who is not directly employedby the landlord?

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Does a tenant have the legal right to break their leasedue toa rude concierge who is not directly employedby the landlord?

My new tenant has had issues with an admittedly brusque employee at the front desk of the condominium where they rent our apartment. We do not have any direct ability to discipline or fire the condo’s employee. We have carried our tenant’s complaint to the property manager and have tried to support our tenant. The rented unit itself is clean, freshly painted, well maintained and safe. We don’t think one rude employee is legal cause for the tenant to break their lease but they claim it would be? Under the Maryland law are we correct if we were to have to take them to court?

Asked on June 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unless there is more going on, then no--the tenant would not have the right to break their lease and escape liability, based on what you write:

1) First and foremost, a lease may be broken for only material, or important, violations, like unclean or unsafe conditions which the landlord won't remedy, or the landlord won't provide utilities or amenities which were in the lease. A rude employee does not even begin to rise to that level, whether it's your employee or not.

2) Second, a tenant may generally only legally break a lease because of material breaches by the landlord or its staff, or if the landlord didn't cause the problem, it must be something making it essentially impossible to rent there. A rude employee again does not rise to anything like that level.


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