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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience:  California lawyer since 1976.
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We are two young female students who live in an apartment complex..

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We are two young female students who live in an apartment complex.. We were forced out of our last apartment due to it's condemnation from Hurricane Ike. We were given only five days to find a new home. We were told that the lease we would be signing would be a three month lease. Upon move in day (the same day we signed our lease) they would only offer a six month lease. We had no other place to go, and our belongings were waiting on the moving truck. Since December, my car has been broken into twice, and the shed off of our porch has been broken into. Accordingly, a woman was mugged directly outside our door two months ago, and there were several other criminal mishaps that other neighbors experienced. In addition, our refrigerator had been broken for two months, after we had requested it be fixed three times. The gate that allows residence through has been "broken" since the day we moved in, and we were promised upon moving in that it would be taken care of shortly. We fear for our lives every time we have to walk to our apartment in the dark. We need to get out of this lease legally. We have to give our thirty day move out notice tomorrow. Any suggestions?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 5 years ago.
HelloCustomerand welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear of all the difficulties you have had. Bad enough that you were forced out of your home by Hurricane Ike. But, then to have all of the additional problems in your new place was like adding insult to injury.

It sounds as if your six month lease is due to expire at the end of February and that your thirty day move out notice, which is due tomorrow, would have you moving out at the end of your lease term. That being the case, there is no special requirement for getting out of the lease. All you have to do is give the landlord notice, which you should do in writing, and at the end of the 30 days, you will be out of the lease legally.

You may have some other issues of concern, such as the return of whatever security deposit you made, but those concerns are separate and apart from ending the lease.

It also appears that you might have a legitimate claim for damages against the landlord for some of the deficiencies you mentioned, in particular the fact that the refrigerator did not work for two months. However, the damages to which you would be entitled wouldn't be worth the hassle, so you should probably just give your notice, get moved out at the end of the month, get your deposit back and get on with your lives.

Thanks for asking your question here on JustAnswer and good luck with this problem, If you have any other questions, please let me know.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your timely manner and your genuine concern.

Yet, our lease expires on April 30th. We have been accepted to lease a beautiful house near campus, and we will be able to move in on March 1st. We are stressed because we cannot afford to pay to live in two places at once. This is why we hope we can find a way out of our current lease legally.
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 5 years ago.
Hello again km, I'm afraid I misunderstood your exact situation. Since Ike happened in September, I took your entry into the six month lease to have occurred in September and that it would be over at the end of February.

The fact that the lease term doesn't end until April 30th complicates the situation. If you give 30 days' notice tomorrow (well, later today!), that will be to move out at the end of February, two months early. If you do that, you may have difficulty with the landlord over the return of your security deposit. And, if they can't re-lease the apartment right away, they could conceivably sue you for the balance of the rent due through the end of April.

You should go ahead and give the 30 days' notice and maybe the landloard will even accept it and let you out of the balance of the lease. Even if not, however, it will take them some time to file a lawsuit, you will have time to respond and then there will have to be a hearing. So, it will take a few months at least before you could end up in court. Even then, it appears that you would have a reasonable chance of defending on the grounds that the landlord violated the terms of the lease for failing to fix the refrigerator, failing to fix the gate and failing to provide a safe and secure environment.

Good luck to you both in your new place!
Jim Reilly, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience: California lawyer since 1976.
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