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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Is there any way to break an apartment lease in NJ?

    Jurisdiction / State: New Jersey

    I have a 1 year apartment lease which doesn't end until June 1,2009. I have many reasons for wanting to end the lease early, but I don't know if I am able to break the lease and if so,what penalties there are. My reasons for wanting to break the lease are as follows...I found out there is a sex offender living in these apartments which I was never made aware of, cockroaches in the apartment(even from the first day I moved in), I keep finding nails sticking out of the floor, stray cats everywhere, and various other small reasons. I have a 14 month old son and I don't feel like the apartment is very safe for him--the cockroaches,nails and the sex offender. Also, we are having trouble affording everything. Is there any way that I can get out of this lease? If so, how do I go about doing it, what do I say and are there any penalties? FYI, I live in NJ, I am not sure if it varies by state. Thank you so much!!

  2. thelawprofessor's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    New York City
    Thanked 297 Times in 278 Posts
    It sounds to me as though you have many reasons that you want to break the lease other than legitimate breaches of the lease. If these breaches you complain of are minor and you wouldn't believe them if some tenant told you the same, then don't think a landlord or a judge will help you out because you saw a few cockroaches and some nails that needed fixing. If you want out of the lease early, your best bet is to try to find another tenant to take your place. Hopefully your landlord will let you out of the lease when the new tenant moves in. You must insist on a written document from the landlord that you are fully released from your lease. Otherwise, if you haven't even written or informed the landlord of the items he must fix or remedy than what kind of a credible reason do you have to break the lease? The fact that there is a former convicted sex offender in the building doesn't mean it's the landlord's problem or responsibility to make sure that nobody with a prior record lives near you. Best of luck.
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