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Breaking the Lease on an Intolerable Apartment

Posted by Carlin on March 29, 2000 at 10:21:58:

In December of 1999, my boyfriend and I rented a one bedroom apartment in a 3 unit building in (Park Slope) Brooklyn, NY. The apartment we rented was the landlord's apartment. The day our lease began we visited our new home. To our surprise the landlords had pulled phone jacks out of the wall leaving them hanging by the wires -- wripped huge quarter size holes in the bedroom wall -- left old, dirty razors and q-tips in the bathroom -- moldy food in the kitchen -- inches of dirt and dust in corners of the apartment where they previously had furniture, etc, etc. We sucked it up and hired a cleaning service (at our expense). After officially moving in, we realized the apartment was falling apartment. Bathroom tiles would fall out, the chandelier in the living room flickered when the tenants above us walked over it, the paneling the dining room had started to fall off, etc, etc. We haven't had a full night sleep since we moved in -- the entrance to the apartment building shares a wall with our bedroom and the door barely closes. Each time a tenant leaves the building, they have to push the door with their hip causing the door and the wall and then our bed to shake and rumble.

We have approached the landlords with those issues. They told us that "if we fixed it, they would pay for it." So, we rolled up our shirt sleeves and began working on some of the problem areas. Our enthusiasm quickly died though when our landlords left several messages and then finally harrassed us in person for buying a $3.00 light switch cover. They told us that if we were going to buy such nice things that they would have to raise the rent!!

Needless to say -- we want out of our lease. We have family that will soon be moving to the area and our plan is to rent a larger apartment for all of us.

We want this to be as painless as possible. Would it be fair to tell the landlords that due to family obligation we have to break the lease? ...we have been through the "complaint list" so many times, we can't bare to read through it again... What would be an appropriate amount of warning?

We appreciate any advice! Thanks.

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