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can I break my lease

My landlord lives above me and she is extremely loud.. plays music all day, drags her furnitre and walks around like an elephan.  Her boyfriend is a drunk and they are alwasy fighting.  I have children and our quality of life is bad since we moved in 3 months ago and I have a year lease.  I want out but will refuse to pay rent if I am not living there.  Can I break my lease.  There is also a hole in the floor which she promised to fix and has not and also never gave me the smoke detetectors and carbon monoxide detector that she promised.
  • April 12 2013 - Dyker Heights
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Answers (4)

Write her a certified letter asking for the loud noises to stop, the hole in the floor to be fixed, and smoke detectors added.  Give her a 10-day deadline.  After the 10 days, assuming no change, send another certified letter giving a 30-day notice of termination based on a breach of the lease, specifically, the implied covenant of "quiet enjoyment". 

If you are doubt, consult with a local real estate lawyer, or landlord/tenant legal clinic.
  • April 14 2013
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If you real want to break the lease you take her to court and let the judge
determine if you have enough motive to break the lease. You have to void the lease legally.
  • April 14 2013
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Profile picture for sunnyview
You can break your lease if you can show a court that the unit is not livable. You need to send the landlord a certified return receipt letter requesting repairs that you mentioned, setting a reasonable timeline for repairs like 30 days and making a complaint about the constant noise/drunkeness/fighting in the unit above you.

Also, a police report documenting the noise and intoxication can help convince a court that your unit does not allow you "quiet enjoyment". Without written proof, the housing court will force you to pay rent even if you do not live there and may also make you pay damages for the empty unit.

If you do move out, take dated photos of EVERY surface, appliance, toilet etc. Landlords like this like to keep deposits. Without solid proof, you my lose yours. With proof, you may get additional damages if the landlord refuses to return your deposit. In many states, those damages are 2-3 times your deposit amount.
  • April 12 2013
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You have the right to quiet enjoyment of the property. Tell her that you can't endure the living conditions. The hole and smoke detectors sound like safety issues. I think the city inspectors may have a problem with those things. Look at your lease. The same things that are causes of violations to you should be violations upstairs. Make sure you talk with her and be upfront. She may understand. If not seek an attorney.
  • April 12 2013
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