A.G. asks from Easley, SC on October 01, 2011
I Need to Break a Lease on an Apartment
Help! We moved several states away and had to pick an apartment to rent from a long way away. We have been here for 4 months now and do not want to stay any longer. These are the reasons: the police are here every other week (including SWAT on occasion), the kids get off the school bus saying language that I don't even want to bleep my way through (I am talk elementary kids), the pool area (just outside our apartment) has a lot of drinking people there frequently, vehicles in the lot have been broken into, loud vehicles with booming radios at all hours of the night, frequent (several times a night) car alarms going off, cigarette butts all over the stair well constantly, and cigarette smoke from other people drifting into my apartment (2 of us have asthma), etc.
Here is my problem. The place we would like to rent needs a deposit (he is willing to split into a couple months). The apartment is also requiring an early termination fee equal to 4 months rent. I cannot afford that no matter what I do. Do any of you know any way I can break the lease with a smaller termination fee? I was told that I only needed 2 months to break the lease, but they did not explain to me that I needed an additional 60 days notice (with rent for those months also). I did sign the paper, so it is legal.........I am afraid I am stuck, but was hoping there is something I can do, I really don't feel very safe here raising 4 children.
H.G. answers from Dallas on October 01, 2011
im in Texas and yes alot of places do check renters history bt we have broken leases before. The last one we left because there was literally a shoot out on the other side of my balcony and the complex said it wad. the polices problem not theirs. Hmm what! We couldn't pay all that either so we left and we were told we may have to pay a higher deposit but its still doable. I hope it works out. Good luck
B.. answers from Dallas on October 01, 2011
I'm confused. Are you saying the papers say you must give 2 months, plus 60 days notice? If that's what the papers say...I'm sorry to say...there isn't much you can do. We found a great (once in a lifetime) deal on a house, and our papers said the same thing. We found no way to get around it. The only way you can really pay less, is if the apartment manager(s), are kind and allow you to. Otherwise, you are obligated to the terms of your lease agreement.
If there are code problems, sanitary problems (or mold mold), you can prove the landlord or apartments are doing illegal things to make you unsafe (such as not providing you locks on your doors)...then you might have a case. You can't get out of lease because of your feelings of not being safe, unfortunately.
The premiss being or seeming unsafe, does not fall under the apartment's responsibility. Unless, they do not provide you with lighted buildings, locks, etc. What other people do, is not there fault, unless they are participating.
I'm in Texas. It could be very different, where you live
J.P. answers from Lakeland on October 02, 2011
If it is a private landlord I would talk to them directly about breaking the lease. Management companies are a bit trickier. I would find out if there is anyone waiting to get an apartment there like a waiting list (but from what you explained it’s not likely). Your other option is to find another tenant to rent your apartment, kind of like taking over the lease.
I am a landlord and would never sue anyone for back rent if they broke a lease, it is too costly with legal and court fees. I figure as long as you give at least 30 days notice they should accept it. You can call the county and find out if the complex rents section 8 apartments. Most counties are in need of dwellings.
M.P. answers from Portland on October 01, 2011
In Portland there is an office that deals with landlord/tenant issues. I'd see if I could find one in your area and consult with them.
Did you know that you can call the police department in which jurisdiction an apartment is located and ask for crime statistics?
I broke a lease and didn't have to pay any penalties because the landlord made an exception. Have you pled fear and asked for help from the landlord? If it's a management company, you might try going above the manager's head.
L.B. answers from Biloxi on October 01, 2011
I say break the lease - Check the laws in your state to see if they can take you to court over it - make regular payments to them to show good faith in taking care of the debt. Also, put in writing the reasons that you are moving out - that the apartment complex is not safe (OMG SWAT TEAM) and they were not upfront with you about the problems the complex has. Mail it to them - after you move - return receipt requested and keep a copy of your lease and the letter.
Sometimes we gotta' do what we gotta' do to keep our children safe.
G.B. answers from Oklahoma City on October 01, 2011
There is not a lot they can do, they hardly ever take tenants to court but they can. Either find a way to get them to come down or just move out.
And for the people from Texas who answered, Texas does have extremely different housing laws than the rest of the USA. I dealt with this when I was involved with Habitat for Humanity. The offices in Texas would give us good advice but warned us that they were Texas laws and they were different due to the way they were written hundreds of years ago when the Louisiana purchase happened and then eventually Texas was annexed into the USA. The laws for property are very very different.
T.R. answers from Orlando on October 01, 2011
it really depends on who the landlord is, meaning, is your landlord an individual, or a corporate residential company? If it's the latter, then may choose to stick it out, only because they will, at the least, send your debt to collections after you fail to pay, and it will end up on your credit report as "bad housing debt" and any time you apply for ANY rental in the future, this will show up, and you will get denied. This is something that you DO NOT want to happen. Now, if it's just an individual, then they really don't have the resources to try and take you to court and they cannot add it to your credit report, so nothing would happen.
G.T. answers from Redding on October 01, 2011
Read your lease carefully. My tenants sign a one year lease but are allowed out of it as long as they give a 30 day notice because I have a waiting list to draw from and it's easy to re-rent the unit as long as they leave it clean enough to be rent ready. Best thing to do is talk to your landlord and if you can strike a deal with him/her make sure they put it in writing. In CA you arent allowed to collect double rent, so if someone moved out and I moved someone in right away, I couldnt charge the exiting tenant for rent that I'm now collecting from the new tenant.