Can you break your lease if your roommate turns out to be a drug user?

UPDATED: May 8, 2011

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Can you break your lease if your roommate turns out to be a drug user?

I want to move out of my current apartment and I want to break the lease legally. These are some of the reasons why –  my roommate is a drug  user We have smelled pot smoke from his room and the cops found drug paraphernalia and marijuana seeds in his room. He has admitted to this and also said that he plans to smoke pot again once he gets out of jail. Our lease says no illegal materials shall be stored on the property. Additionally,  this roommate also has a dog who ruined the house by urinating everywhere; it is so bad I can’t breathe.

Asked on May 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maine


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You are in a tough situation.  On some level you chose this roommate and all signed this contract together, correct?  And now you are stuck with it. Terminating the lease does not run in your favor here but it does for the landlord.  Here is what I think that you need to do.  Seek help from an attorney in your area.  It is possible that the landlord can evict you or your roommate depending on how the lease is written and signed.  So I might suggest that the attorney suggest that the landlord evict him asap for violating the lease.  You will all be responsible for the dog destruction too so be prepared for that.  You may want to get the ASPCA involved here as it does not seem that the dig is being cared for properly.  Good luck.

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