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Can I break lease after drug bust in building?

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Can I break lease after drug bust in building?

Postby starshine » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:05 pm

News just broke that the building I live in had a massive fentanyl drug bust. I do not feel safe living in a building that housed major players in the drug world, nor do I want to live where fentanyl may/may not be airborne.

Can I break my lease based on this? What rights do I have in this situation?
starshine
 
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Re: Can I break lease after drug bust in building?

Postby TenantNet » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:24 pm

You can always move out whenever you wish. Nothing is stopping you.

Better question is, can or will the LL come after you for the rent for the rest of the term? Maybe. A lot depends on the facts, but in general a lease is a contract and the LL can seek the rent for the entire term (but only one month at a time).

You can see if the LL is willing to let you out of the lease. That's the easiest way to go. Then see if they are willing to accept an assignment - you would need to find a replacement tenant. Or you can seek to sublet.

Has there been any incidents? Has the LL been negligent, especially with notice of the drug activity? (BTW, "negligence" is a legal term, not how you feel about the LL). That is what you should focus on.

Look in the "bawdy law" and get the LL to evict the dealers. The local District Attorney can also be helpful.

As for the drug bust, do you know for certain it's a couple of local dealers or some top banana from the mob or Mexican drug cartel? The nature of the activity can be important. Chances are it's not like the 1988 crack wars.

I can tell you that you and your fellow tenants and people on the block can organize, set up tenant and block groups and make sure it doesn't happen again. See https://goo.gl/cEmjKi for an extreme example.
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Re: Can I break lease after drug bust in building?

Postby starshine » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:27 pm

Thank you for your detailed reply. I appreciate it!

I am trying to learn what I need to in order to navigate this skillfully with my landlord. My husband and I are looking to withdraw from the lease.

There was a major incident in our building with two arrests. News broke today- it's the largest fentanyl bust in NYC history, worth $30 million, so I assume these weren't small-time dealers.

I sent the news article to management today after seeing it on social media. They said they cooperated with police last month for an investigation of criminal activity which led to arrests. Management did not inform tenants of this. I assume my landlord has no idea either. So there is evidence of negligence, especially considering the lethal nature of fentanyl and the sheer amount that was in proximity to my apartment.

I'm going to gather info over the next few days and give a call to my landlord. I'm tempted to leave a copy of the article in the front hall to inform other residents.
starshine
 
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Re: Can I break lease after drug bust in building?

Postby TenantNet » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:17 am

I read the news article. I does sound more than a few guys on the corner.

There might be reasons to not inform tenants ahead of time ... it might even be that the LL was instructed by law enforcement not to do this.

That is not evidence of negligence. He cooperated with law enforcement.

If you wish to dig deeper on this, you can consult with a tenant attorney to see if there are grounds for breaking the lease. Or, as I suggested, you can just ask the LL. If he's amenable, then make sure it's all written on paper.
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