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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 36990
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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My daughter lives in a duplex in Minneapolis. There was a

Customer Question

My daughter lives in a duplex in Minneapolis. There was a drive by shooting last week and her downstairs neighbor had a bullet go through their wall and into their tv. Is this grounds for her to break her lease? The lease runs through August 31, 2016. She does not feel safe in her home.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year 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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I am very sorry to hear that your daughter was subjected to this type of incident. And I am also sorry to have to tell you that this wouldn't give her legal grounds to terminate her lease without repercussions. In a landlord/tenant relationship, the landlord has a legal duty to provide a habitable dwelling that meets all local code and housing ordinances, but that is about it.

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The landlord isn't responsible for the illegal actions of a third party and outside criminal activity wouldn't affect the contractual relationship between landlord and tenant..

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Unfortunately, there is not any type of "escape clause" in a lease unless it was specifically stated in the lease. If someone is under a written lease for a set term, then if they break the lease, the landlord can potentially hold them liable for up to the entire remaining term of the lease. If there is criminal activity in the neighborhood, it would not give them legal grounds to get out of the lease without any repercussions.

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However, if she feels that she has to break your lease, the landlord has a duty to mitigate his damages by attempting to re-rent the unit as soon as possible. Once he does so, he can only hold her liable for his actual damages in the form of any lost rent and advertising costs. So if it takes him 1 or 2 months to rent it again, he can only hold her liable for that lost rent plus any advertising costs. The law seeks to put the non-breaching party in the same position they would have been in but for the breach.

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So to minimize her potential liability, if she decides to breach, make sure she leaves the place as close to spotless as she can so the landlord can immediately put it on the market and hopefully rent it quickly.

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

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