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Steinlaw, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 1811
Experience:  8+ years as an insurance adjuster, 7+ years as a personal injury and consumer law attorney
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Can I legally break my lease under Civil Code 1942 due to

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Can I legally break my lease under Civil Code 1942 due to excessive noise and stomping caused by upstairs neighbors? The ceilings are very thin and we can hear everything. Called management on 6 separate occasions. No result. Finally after 6 months the upstairs tenants gave their 30 day notice. Now the new tenants upstairs are just as loud. Me and my two small children have enjoyed 2 months of peaceful sleep out of 14 months. Land lord wants two months rent, keeps security deposit, and demands payback of $200 monthly (x3 months) discount on rent from market value. We are 2 months into our 10 month lease.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Steinlaw replied 6 years ago.
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Steinlaw :

How long was your lease?

Expert:  Steinlaw replied 6 years ago.
Hi Customer. Thank you for asking your question on JustAnswer. The other Experts and I are working on your answer. By the way, it would help us to know:

-How long was your lease?
-Did you ever document the problems in writing?

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
we are 2 months into a 10 month lease. I have documented every phone call and kept a sleep journal documenting every instance we were deprived of quiet enjoyment. But I have not mailed the landlord a formal letter. Just several phone calls.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
They want 2 months rent (market value), keep our security deposit, and payback the $200 discount they gave us on the two month's rent we have already paid. It has been over a year we have delt with this and now we must move out. But we can't afford the $4000 management requires to break the lease.
Expert:  Steinlaw replied 6 years ago.
I am sorry you are going through this.

Without a letter to the landlord, a judge is not going to rule in your favor, at least in my experience. Send the landlord a letter explaining the problem and include documentation. Then you will be in a better position. But without that letter, I do not see you winning. With that letter, I think you have a much better chance of winning.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
How long should I wait to move out under Civil Code 1942 after sending the letter? Should I include my journal and documentation with the letter?
Expert:  Steinlaw replied 6 years ago.
1. Send the letter and give the landlord 30 days to fix the problem.
2. Include any documentation that you have. You dont want the landlord to claim he didnt know you had documentation that you didnt share.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm still a little confused... After the 30 days, if there is still excessive noise, am I able to just move out and give them the keys? Do I have to give them 30 days notice AFTER the 30 days have passed that I sent the letter, or do I include the 30 day notice in my letter of complaint? Since the ceilings are so thin I dont think this is a problem mangagment can remedy. Is a simple letter grounds enough for me to break my lease? Or should I expect this to go to court?
Expert:  Steinlaw replied 6 years ago.
you send the letter and give them 30 days to correct the problem. Let them know if the problem is not fixed you will move out. If the problem is not fixed, you send them a letter stating that you are moving out and the basis of the move out.

You should expect that they will sue you for breach of contract. You will then use your letter and the supporting documentation to defend yourself - probably in small claims court.
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