Do we have a right to break our lease?
September 22, 2012 12:56 PM Subscribe
We want out of our apartment. What is the best tactic to take?
posted by ohsnapdragon to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My wife and I have lived in our apartment in Atlanta, GA for almost two years. (Our second, year long lease is up Dec 31.) At this point it seems very unlivable to us.
-Cockroach infestation that is almost unbelievable. We have had their contracted exterminator out to spray 3 times (free) and bought every roach product known to man, practically, at our own expense. I am sure the whole building is infested - I see them walking in from outside/the hallway. (It is an old building and there are big cracks around the doors, under the cabinets, etc.) They are everywhere - even crawling around on the floor, walls, etc in daylight hours. When you flick on the kitchen light at night it is like a horror story. (And yes, we keep the sink/counters free of dirty dishes, food out, etc.)
-No working oven. (The stovetop works - or, 3 of the 4 burners do.) The one we had broke months ago (early May.) The first time we asked maintenace for help - no response. The second time - someone came out, confirmed it was broken, said it would be replaced. It wasn't. The third and fourth time - no response. (We put in requests about once a month.)
-shower clogs constantly, we buy Drano to fix it.
-the bathroom floor used to be tile and is collapsing, they "repaired" it by putting in some plywood and putting a cheap linoleum over it that is hideous and already ripping.
-people frequently park in our (private) parking lot leaving us with no space or a far away space.
-the electrical outlets in the kitchen are broken (save 1) and there are none in the bathroom.
We have other issues too with the apartment but they are just personal things (like hating the old, dirty carpet, annoying neighbor, 1.5 square feet of counter space in the kitchen, etc,) so I'm not mentally including them.
We would like to leave ASAP. We looked in our lease, but don't understand it (I'd be happy to email it to someone more knowledgeable.) It possibly calls for 1 months rent when breaking the lease, but I'm not sure.
We are calling them on Monday, but I want to be armed with information. I'd be happy to pay 1 month's rent to just be done with it, but I don't want to pay more. Pretend that when I call them they say we must pay 2 or 3 months - then what do I do?
Are any of these "offenses" breaking tenant's rights in Georgia, or do they legally justify the breaking of a lease? If our living conditions are not actually illegal, does it seem likely they'd let us out anyway to avoid bad publicity or do landlords not really care about that kind of thing? Should I pursue that angle, or just play nice and say we're moving out of state or something and beg for mercy? Does anyone have experience getting out of a lease?
I'd like to do this with as little bother as possible, but of course I have to weigh finances as well and paying the last 3 months concurrently with a new apartment is really a last resort.
*Despite how it sounds on paper, our apartment is not in a slum and they are not slumlords. It's actually in a very nice neighborhood near tourist attractions surrounded by expensive condos, townhouses, and some other apartments. The management company owns several properties in various areas of Atlanta and have always been lackluster in communication, even when we were trying to move in. (Lesson learned.)
Thanks for any advice.