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Want to break a lease in NJ Apartment Complex Breaking a Lease

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by jersey65, Mar 15, 2014.

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  1. jersey65

    jersey65 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My issue is that I would like to break a lease in a New Jersey apartment complex due to ongoing drug activity by our next door neighbors. They are obviously selling drugs and two other neighbors I spoke with also confirmed the same concerns and were hoping they would be evicted. The police did a drug bust in the middle of the night a few months ago but apparently they did not find anything but I do believe one person from the house was arrested but I do not think for drugs. There is also consistent loitering outside of their apartment with constant traffic in and out. On one such occasion when there were a bunch of people outside their apartment until late at night, the police were called by someone and we witnessed someone from this apartment being arrested once again. We also witnessed an assault take place where the police again were called and someone was arrested. In looking through my lease, I see there is a Crime-Free Lease Addendum which is an entire page concerning tenants and criminal activity, drug activity ect. and one of the provisions in this section of the lease states that tenant, guest or invitee to unit shall not engage in criminal activity. Tenant shall not permit dwelling to be used for criminal activity or to facilitate criminal activity. It lists specific offenses, with the drug offenses and assault included, as reasons for a tenant to have violated the lease and be evicted. It also states just one infraction is enough for eviction. So my question is, do I have grounds to break my lease, without penalty as they have not evicted nor has the landlord dealt with the issue of these people's criminal activity ? As I previously stated there have been atlease three situations that have taken place. Also they freely smoke marijuana outside and all neighbors have complained that the smell is coming into their apartment. I personally did not complain as I am afraid as many of these guys have been to jail ect. and I do not want retaliation.

    In regards to specific proof, I am wondering if I can call the township police department, and request copies of the police reports or complaints that had to have been filed for these instances as the people are over 18 I would presume that this information would be public knowledge? I just want to know if my reasoning stated above would be valid grounds to attempt to break this lease or if I am just out of luck. If it is grounds to break the lease, would I have to get a lawyer involved to help me draft up a letter to the management company? Also, please note we lease from a huge company that leases apartments all over NJ, so its not like a mom and pop landlord that I could verbally work this out with. This company is very by the book and will not work with you period. We would also want some if not all of our security deposit back as I believe the landlord broke their lease agreement with us by allowing this activity to take place. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    The problem is that reports are just that - they're reports. To give you an example, I could call the police and tell them that you stole my Stanley Kubrick DVD collection. They'd take the report, sure - but that wouldn't convict you.

    As it stands now, I'd say that if you break the lease, the usual penalties will apply.
     

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