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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33730
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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Can we break our lease if the landlord did not comply with

Customer Question

Can we break our lease if the landlord did not comply with the upgrades as identified in the initial home listing? Our landlord stated that he was installing hardwood floors into the home- instead, he installed a cheap floating floor which shifts when we walk on it and is so noisy, we can't sleep at night. It's gotten to the point where we can't use 3 of the 5 rooms that have this horrible floor.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Can we break our lease if the landlord did not comply with the upgrades as identified in the initial home listing?

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This is going to depend on whether there is anything in the actual written lease that states he will make the upgrades. If there is nothing in it, then a tenant takes the property in the condition it is in when they view it and sign the lease. This is under a legal doctrine called the "four corners doctrine" which basically states that the entire contents of the contract are contained within the "4 corners" of the paper it is written on. What that means is that if it isn't in the lease written down, then it doesn't count..

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So if it wasn't stated in the written lease that wood floors would be installed, then it wouldn't be a breach of the contract if he fails to do so.

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With that said, you can always break a lease, but the landlord can hold you liable for any lost rent until he re-rents it. However if you breached, he does have a legal duty to try and re-rent as soon as possible. So to minimize your potential liability, if you have to breach, make sure you leave the place as close to spotless as you can so the landlord can immediately put it on the market and hopefully rent it quickly.

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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Barrister

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