I have signed a 6 month lease that does not have any guarantees on it, I have now determined after a shooting down the street from my apartment, and the traffic and type of people coming in and out of it, that it is not safe for me, I am a 19 year old, very petite female. Is there any way to get out of my lease if I fear for my safety?
Lease Agreements I have signed a 6 month lease that does not have any…
Re: Lease Agreements
You are in a difficult situation. The law is creeping toward giving tenants like you more legal arguments, but based on your facts I don’t think you quite have a case for breaking your lease without liability under the present state of the law.
Landlords have at least two types of duties with respect to the threat of third-party (outsider) crime affecting their tenants. First, they cannot reduce the level of security significantly such as by eliminating door guards or alarms. Second, there is a developing sense that the implied warranty of habitability includes a warranty that the premises are reasonably safe from foreseeable violent crimes.
I’m afraid, however, that the mere occurrence of one or more violent crimes in the neighborhood is not enough to show a breach of the warranty. If the crime had occurred inside your building, or if there were proof that the co-tenants or guests were fugitives from the law or regularly dealing drugs on the property, you might have a better case.
This is a time where the law is evolving, and I can’t say you would not prevail in court, but fear alone probably won’t be decisive in your favor. You probably need more to avoid liability for breach of lease if you moved out.
My suggestion is to negotiate with the landlord, and to gather documentation on suspicious or dangerous activity. Be careful and good luck.
Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
P O Box 318
Tomales, CA 94971-0318