what can I do to break the lease and have my 3 months security deposit back?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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what can I do to break the lease and have my 3 months security deposit back?

I wrote to my landlord our intent to vacate the apartment as soon as possible
because of pipe’s noises. we moved on Dec 28th but the landlord ask me to
pay all the monthly rent until he find another tenant.
I can’t pay 2 rent in the same time and I think that all the noises preclude the
warranty of habitability.I have recorded many time the noises.
What can I do?

Asked on January 16, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no "procedure" to break the lease early for habitability reasons, other than first giving the landlord written notice of the problem and some reasonable time or opportunity to correct it. (What is "reasonable" varies with circumstances and the issue, so there is no way to specify generally what it should be.) If the problem is not then fixed, you move out and hope the landlord accepts your action and does not sue. 
If the landlord does sue, a court will then decide if your action was justified. This is a subjective evaluation by a judge, who will decide if in his/her consideration, the condition was so bad as to make the unit uninhabitable and "constructively evict" you. If the judge decides against you, you will be liable for rent until the earlier of 1) the expiration of your lease or 2) the landlord re-rents the space. Remember: the lease is a contract: in it, you agreed to pay rent through the whole term of the lease.
In my experience in landlord-tenant law in NJ, pipe noises would not be considered to be so bad as to render an apartment uninhabitable, unless they are so loud and constant as to preclude sleep by a reasonable person, and proving that can be difficult. For example, if other tenants put up with the noise and live in their apartments, that undercuts the claim that they are intolerable. You run a real risk of being liable for the rent. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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