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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 28414
Experience:  Attorney
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Please see the email I sent my landlords. What can I do to

Customer Question

Please see the email I sent my landlords. What can I do to get out of my lease?
Hi Dianne/Michelle,
I'm writing in regards ***** ***** terms of my lease. At this time, myself and my fiancée have been tenants for nearly two years. We have paid rent on time, have never received any complaints and have even taken measures to improve the apartment beyond what standard maintenance repairs cover. We've held up our end of the bargain, Fineberg Maintenance has not.
We're asking to be relieved of the terms of our lease not because we don't love the area, but because the price we're paying to live in Fenway is far beyond what it's worth to live in our apartment.
Over the course of the two years, we've lived in*****APT 30, we've encountered numerous problems, pests and issues that haven't been addressed by Fineberg in the way a Landlord should address them.
We've had a mice problem since December 2014. We've had to call over eight times (documented each one of these calls) and have been told that they cannot find the point of entry in which the mice are entering our apartment. We've had a fruit fly and house fly infestation for over three months without any food or drinks left out overnight, yet the bugs continue to multiply (also, documented). We've had a toilet continue to run to the point of overflow, and when we called to ask for a plumber at 1pm on a Monday, Fineberg replied that they wouldn't get to it until the following day because it was the end of the work day. At 1pm. I ended up resolving this issue by cutting off the water supply with a wrench, letting it sit and turning it back on hours later.
Out of the 4 washers and 4 dryers afforded to us in the basement of the building next door, at least 2 are continually out of service with little responsiveness when we call for repairs. As you can imagine, with an apartment complex of over 100 units, this simply isn't enough to accommodate the masses. We've since had to take our laundry elsewhere, paying nearly 3x the price of what should be offered in our own building.
Both my and my fiancée’s keys barely work to enter our own building, we've called and had to replace two sets over the course of a year, each wearing down faster than the previous sets. We had a mold issue in our bathroom, and the repair man simply painted over the mold. That's it. Just paint.
Not to mention the neighbors above us are six grown men living in a one-bedroom apartment, a clear breach of the Boston Housing Association's tenant living policy, which states no more than three individuals should occupy a 1-bedroom dwelling at any time. We called to report this, and not only did Fineberg have knowledge of this situation, they simply told them to buy a carpet to put down on the floors so it would lessen the noise below. It didn't lessen any noise, and they're still loud, because it's six people living in a 1-bedroom apartment. The building is a glorified frat house, constantly reeking of marijuana at any given time of the day, which isn't exactly refreshing to walk into after a long day of work or when your in-laws are coming to visit. Not to mention that when we moved into the apartment, we were told that this was a family/working professional only building, which has since been proven otherwise on every floor.
There are no pets allowed on the premises, yet there are a number of dogs who live in our building (which we frequently hear barking).
It has been a long, arduous process to try and get Fineberg to repair or make simple upgrades to an apartment that desperately needs them. Whenever we call customer service, we get zero to no help, are met with a rude demeanor and are still required to pay a rent increase at the end of each year for an apartment that isn't nice enough to have a rent increase.
Like I mentioned on the phone, I, as a man, don’t normally mind little things like mice and whatnot. Since living with my fiancée, I’ve realized that if she is fed up and not willing to live in these kind of conditions, considering she really has to stretch her budget to afford living in said apartment, my hands are tied. We have documented all of the calls and follow-ups, as we do want to have the ability to show the countless efforts to make this right.
Ideally, we would like to vacate the premises October 1, 2016, to not only find something a bit more affordable and without mice/mold/laundry, but to allow for Fineberg to update the apartment as it should have been years ago. It is usually not the tenant’s duty to do the following, but we are willing to list the apartment on your behalf and show it, but are looking to meet in the middle. We are looking to not have a ‘lease-breaking’ fee, so when the apartment is listed, the incoming tenants would have to only pay first/last month’s rent, as we did. I feel this type of middle ground would allow for the apartment to be vacated quickly and without any gap in payment.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry that you're having so much trouble with your landlord.

When is your lease up? I see that you said you were moving October 1. What happened after you sent that email?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.

Sorry, I'd be leaving 11/4, as I've already signed another lease. What are my options?

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

First, you can call the health department. If they come in and document the mice and the mold, that gives you proof that you needed to move out. That can help if the landlord tries to sue you after you leave.

You can also call the city to report the extra people living upstairs, although that's not a breach of the warranty of habitability.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Usually, the options are to sue the landlord for a court order requiring repairs, withhold rent to force repairs, or break the lease. If you've already signed a new lease, though, withholding rent won't help - because you're bound by the lease after repairs are made. And a court order for repairs also won't help.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

If you list the place yourself and have a new tenant lined up by the time you leave, the landlord can't charge you anything for breaking your lease and moving out, because they have lost no money. That's always an option.

Otherwise, you have to be able to establish that the conditions of the place are so bad that it's unfit for human habitation. Refusing to fix a mice problem that you didn't cause or remediate mold both help show that. Those are the things to really focus on. Things like broken keys are frustrating and inconvenient, but it doesn't put your health in danger, so it's not cause for moving out.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Did you have any other questions about this?