The right to terminate a lease when ”quiet enjoyment” is not possible.

The right to terminate a lease when ”quiet enjoyment” is not possible.
I recently vacated my previous apartment after writing a letter to the leasing management corporation. I felt I needed to vacate because of numerous issues, but mainly that of squeaking floor boards from the apartment above mine, which prevented me from sleeping, making telephone calls, and basic concentration. The condition was extreme and management made no attempts to fix the problem. The decision to vacate was made on behalf of my health and sanity. I do not feel that I should have to pay for a termination fee (which is two times the monthly rent + security deposit), and I have told the company I will not be held responsible for such fees. I gave a thirty days notice, but they are implying that I will indeed have a financial obligation even if they find someone to rent the apartment next month. It is my understanding that the company has breached the rental agreement under at least one condition, that of breaking the covenant of quiet enjoyment. Am I correct in this assumption, and either way, am I legally obligated to pay any fees in this situation? Finally, if I am not obligated to pay any fees, and I am asked to do so, what should my next step be? Thank you so much!

2 thoughts on “The right to terminate a lease when ”quiet enjoyment” is not possible.

  1. Re: The right to terminate a lease when ”quiet enjoyment” is not possible.
    In theory yes. In fact, this happened to me and while I was in law school I sued my landlord, and they ended up paying me a little bit. However, it is NOT easy. The problem is not with the concept (the principle). The problem is with proving something that is inherently subjective. The threshold is rather high. Normally “quiet enjoyment” in the law does not refer to “quiet” but is a rather strange term of art. It really means whether or not the apartment is habitable. So the problem needs to be rather severe to qualify. It is a little hard to convince people that mere noise is that bad, although it can be.

    You should understand that you will probably NEVER get them to stop asking for money simply by persuasion. The amount will go on a list and they will keep calling you. (Although once it goes to any third party, like a debt collector, you can insist that they not call you, but that’s a whole different topic.)

    The only way it is ever going to go away is that eventually they will have to bring it to court, and then you will have a chance to argue your case. So you should just resign yourself to the fact that they are acting as bureaucrats and whatever they say or do is meaningless. It helps to send them a letter now and then so you can prove that you advised them that they are full of it. (And if it goes on your credit report, you can fight that also, but that is yet another big topic.)

    How did I get them to pay me some money? With the help of an architect friend, I was able to identify some violations of the building code. I counter-sued (after they sued me). As soon as they realized they were in danger of having violations of building codes exposed and the government finding out about it, they ran for the hills and cut me a small check to make the whole thing go away.

    Jonathon Moseley
    Office of Jonathon Moseley
    1818 Library Street, Suite 500
    Reston, VA 20190

  2. Re: The right to terminate a lease when ”quiet enjoyment” is not possible.
    I’m afraid, Sir or Gentle Lady, under the facts and circumstances which you’ve described, that you will have to pay a sum certain for your premature and unilateral termination of your lease agreement. (Squeaky floors, I fear, will not pass muster as providing a legally defensible basis[alleged breach of quiet enjoyment]for you to disavow with impunity your obligations under your lease agreement.)

    Michael E. Hendrickson
    Attorney & Counsellor at Law
    211 North Union Street Suite 100
    Alexandria, 22314

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