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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I have 30 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
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Moved into a duplex 2 weeks ago and when we saw the place initially

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Moved into a duplex 2 weeks ago and when we saw the place initially and asked the landlord about the neighbor next door, the landlord just explained about their family (number of children etc) but never mentioned about their pets. After we moved in, we realized that the neighbor has 2 dogs that bark constantly, and birds that make noise constantly. I've told the landlord about the issues several times but nothing has changed and in fact the neighbor did tell us once that they are not the only ones that have pets in this neighborhood. How likely is it that I can break a lease legally and get out of this place and move into a quieter place?

The location of the property is in bay area, CA.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

While there is almost certainly nothing in your lease agreement that allows you to terminate the lease early based on the fact that your neighbors have animals that bark and make other noises, you do have a couple of options.

Dogs that constantly bark may be considered a nuisance, and the city may do something about that---though that would not make for a very friendly neighbor situation and in a duplex, you are practice living with them.

If your landlord owns both sides of the duplex, and there is anything in your lease agreement which requires that you not create a disturbance so as to bother the neighbors, then chances are that the neighbor has the same clause and you can demand that your landlord take action to remedy the noise---and lay the problem at his door.

Finally, and the most practical as you inquired about it in the first place, it is not a crime to break a lease contract. The landlord has a legal obligation to mitigate their damages, and will be required to re-rent the unit as soon as possible. You will only be legally responsible for the lost rent until a new tenant moves in---which could be almost immediately---especially if you give the landlord 30 days or more notice that you will be leaving so he has the chance to get the residence rented long before you even leave. This is effective in many situations like yours, and can allow you to effectively break the lease and owe nothing.

As It is unlikely that you are prepared to move out immediately, and into a new rental unit, and as your landlord has the legal obligation to minimize his damages and immediately seek a new tenant to take the duplex, then there is a very good chance that you can actually terminate the lease early and owe nothing. Most folks find this avenue of approach to be the most effective, and the least likely to ending up in court.

Your landlord might even have another unit elsewhere that you can rent from him, and thereby make the transition smooth.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thank you very much for the detailed response. Just a couple more questions if possible.

When I would like to take the action to break the lease and contact the landlord about it, should I bring up the pet noise issue immediately or should I simply tell the landlord that I would like to break the lease by xxxx time?

Please let me know.

Good afternoon,

While you are under no legal obligation to provide an excuse, if you do not do so, if, on the off hand chance that this does end up in court, you will be hard pressed to argue that your peace and quiet was interrupted at all hours of the day and night by the neighbor's animals---which the landlord refused to do anything about.

What would be wise, would be to ask the landlord to do something about the noise now---letting him know how utterly intolerable it is. That will soften the blow when you tell him that you are leaving. And again, the more advance notice you can give---the more likelihood that the landlord can get the place rented so there is no downtime on the rental and no lost rent to the landlord.

Thank you for your kind words. They are appreciated. Please keep in mind that until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be credited with helping you.

Thanks again.

Have a great day,

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.



I used your service on 6/18 about a noise problem with the duplex that I am in. Since then, there has been some music issues, party going on till midnight, all kinds of noise issue which made us wanting to break the lease. The lease was signed on late May, so technically I still have about 9months.

We've been telling the landlord about the noise issue, and he was helpful in some cases where he would contact the next door neighbor but recently he has been telling us that a neighbor noise issue is the tenant's problem, therefore, to exchange contact information and deal with each other from now on, which also made us wanting to leave.

Yesterday, we told the landlord that we would like to consider leaving. He agreed to the idea but requested the followiing;



Under our contract, you are required to pay the remainder of the twelve month lease you signed up for.

The only exception we would make is:

You would be required to pay monthly rent in full for the remainder of your 12 month lease term until the actual move in date of a new qualified tenant who would be agreeing to pay monthly rent of an amount at least equal to your current monthly rent of $3,100 and who agrees to a minimum 12 month lease term.

In addition we would require an additional two months rent to cover damages associated with early lease termination. This would cover:

1) costs needed to put the unit back on the market until unit is rented out. This includes costs related to advertising, marketing, travel and time required to show the unit to prospective tenants. Note that since school has started, it may take longer to rent out the unit.

2) costs needed to partially recoup custom work we did at your request. This includes brand new bathroom tiles and brand new carpets. Other prospective tenants whom we turned down for you did not ask for this kind of work to be done. We honestly went out of our way to create a comfortable new home for your family.


There is no early termination clause in the lease agreement, therefore there is nothing in the contract about the cost above. Regarding the custom work, we never asked them that doing a work would be a condition to move in. We just asked them to clean before we move in.

Please let me know how we should deal with this. If we are to move out, we need to let the landlord know today or tomorrow, but we don't want to pay the additional $6,200 that was not on the contract.

Do you see this going to court? If so, how, and what would be the cost associated to that?

Please advise.

Good Morning,

Your question is entirely new, in that you are asking for a specific review of your lease contract.

As you may not be aware, the Rules of JustAnswer specify that each customer ask one question in each question thread. For new questions, the customer is asked to open a new question thread. I am required to ask that you place these new questions in a new thread, as is required by JustAnswer. I do sincerely XXXXX XXXXX any inconvenience this might cause you.

You may ask for me personally by referring to me by name (Doug) in your new question and I will be able to assist you. As the questions that you are posing are new, I am required to ask you to please open up a new question thread for them. Thank you for your understanding.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Understood, sorry for the misunderstanding. I will do so asap

Thanks so much Yoshi,

Have a great day!