Lease Termination For Safety

Question: After signing a one-year lease on an apartment, I find my neighbor screaming obscenities at me. Can I get out of the lease without penalty?

I signed a one year lease on my home in Lincoln Township, Michigan. So far, I have called the police on my neighbor twice and complained to management- she screams obscenities up through her ceiling, while I am getting into my vehicle, and pounds repeatedly on the ceiling. This all takes place after ten pm. I do not feel safe in the least. I don't feel I should have to pay the penalty (one month rent) to get out of this lease. I feel my personal safety is being jeopardized. Do I have any legal rights here?

Answer: There is a rule that the landlord must keep the leased premises fit for habitation. If it is not then you are considered to have been "constructively evicted". Your claim is that the other tenant is making the property uninhabitable. If you document that you have notified the landlord in writing that this person is threatening you, screaming obscenities and making the apartment "uninhabitable", then you have an argument that you have been constructively evicted by the landlord failing to keep the property safe for you. However, it would be up to the Judge to decide if you are correct. Since it is not the landlord doing the yelling, the court may rule against you. Also, it is a misdemeanor crime to use obscenities within hearing of women and children.

Attorney: Mark Miller

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