Posted by John F. on February 25, 2002 at 02:09:15:
In Reply to: Breaking Lease - GUNSHOTS fried in building posted by Tim on February 24, 2002 at 17:54:23:
Do you think the LL deceived you about this when you moved in, if not then you also have some responsibility to check out the neighborhood and the building regarding suitability.
As bad as the shots are it was not the fault of the LL, and it might not be grounds to break the lease provided that the LL responds appropriately to the seriousness of the situation. Did the LL evict the intended target of the shooting on the basis that this person's presence put the other tenants of the building in danger, or at least did the LL write a letter to you and other tenants about this situation with an explanation of the steps he will take towards maintaining a safe environment. If he did not then they may be grounds for you to get out of the lease.
Since you were threatened you should file a report with the police about this, as the tenant that made the threats was also breaking the law by doing so. You could tell the police that you would prefer they don't tell the person since you still have to live there. Then write to tell the LL you were threatened and if the tenant that threatened you is not evicted then it would be support to your position that the lease can be broken on the basis that the LL has failed to take necessary steps to maintain a safe living environment. The LL could evict the people on the basis of the domestic disputes, does not have to tell them that it was because of the threat.
You might be able to go to housing court to ask for a legal hearing to give you a court order that allows you to break the lease without notice, then you would know before you moved out if you were going to end up having to pay damages or not. If it goes to a hearing it is very unlikely that the LL would be awarded 5 months, especially if he is able to have it rented out again within about a month.
A judge might approve some penalty if you do not follow the appropriate procedures, so you need to call the housing court or somebody who can give specific advice. You don't need a police report, but bring another tenant to any court heaaring who would be a witness to verify that these events actually happened.
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