I Want to Move Out! Eviction or Break the lease?

ak20November 29, 2006

Hello, this is my first post and I will appreciate your responses.

OK, here is my story. I seriously want to move out. My apt is horrible. The landlord is lazy and never be on time. I mean I needed to have couple things repaired so I called him and he said he would come next XXXday and never showed up. By the way, he hardly picks up the phone and even though I leave a message, he never calls me back so I usually insist on calling him and he gets angry for that. THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE!

Anyway, my whole story is not only about this lazy landlord, it's just a part of it though. The bigger part of it is that my neighbor in the next building play their music loud. The next building is owned by a different landlord. I went there to talk with them and tried to explain about it, but the problem was they don't speak English. Only things they could say seemed to be "I don't care" and they kept shouting something at me in Spanish and never turned down the volume. Well, I called cops several times, but that didn't help much. They don't play music in the midnight, but I need to sleep at noon. The worst thing happened to me recently is that a person living upstairs got a new speaker and HE became noisy too. So my situation is now that I constantly hear background noise and I can no longer put up with this.

I told the landlord that I want to move out and he said he needs time to think about it and 2 weeks passed already.

How can I get out of this place?

If I break the lease, I have to pay the rent until he finds a new tenant. I want to avoid it.

So I am thinking to be evicted by the landlord. I'm ready to break some stuff in the building and not to pay the rent. All I need to wait is a 14days to Quit Notice. But am I still responsible for the remainder of the rent?

I am in MA.


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You're kidding right?


You're going to break stuff and not pay rent??

How are you going to get a reference after you've been evicted? Most of your prospective landlords will check court records for evictions. What about you future credit rating? What about your landlord taking you to small claims court for the damage you say you are going to cause AND for the remaining rent you owe on your lease? Or even see you in regular court depending on how much damage you cause? Maybe even file criminal charges?

You're kidding right?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 9:42PM
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might not be kidding.
I just want to know what happens if I get evicted, let's say, for non-payment of the rent. Do I still owe the remaining rent?
I know that if I break the lease, I have to pay the rent until a new tenancy begins or the lease is up, whichever is sooner. But if I am evicted, do I need to pay the rent until the lease is up?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 10:31PM
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It all depends on where you live. You list "United States" in your profile so I can't give you any specific advice or resources to check.

Here is a link to the way it is done where I live to give you an example.


You can get a general idea of what you can expect where you reside from the above link.

Things do not differ much usually from place to place but they do differ greatly in some cities like New York where there are rent controls in place and such and hence some odd laws regarding landlord/tenent relations. You should check with a tenents rights group in your area.

Unless you want to share what city you are in, no one here can give you any advice that would be meaningful to your specific situation. Laws are different all over, there are a lot of nuances in the law from place to place. Do you own search on Google.

Basically, the answer is, YES, you will probably owe the rent for the remainder of the lease if you do something to get yourself evicted - like not paying rent. Your landlord can get a judgment against you and then proceed to garnish your wages and/or go after your bank accounts.

If you must move because the landlord has failed on his part, like for instance, if you get robbed and he does not add extra security or replace the broken door/window, or if there are so many repairs needed that the place does not offer a resonable quality existance, rats and roaches are running wild, ect., then you probably can prove in court that the place was uninhabitable and you were forced by circumstances to move. In that case you must be ready to provide documentation - photos, police reports, witnesses. You could still lose your case if you do not have any evidence of the landlord's wrong doing. The judge is not going to just take your word for everything.

I do not think that a complaint of "loud music at noontime" is going to make the judge take your side in this matter if you move out before your lease is up. I feel for you. Really I do. I work nights and had to put up with loud music, undisiplined children screaming, motorcycles revving, doors slaming and a lot more all day long while I tried to sleep during the daytime. I know how aggrivating it can be.

Why don't you just talk to the landlord again and ask him if it OK to move out? Then tell him you have a friend who is interested in the place and would move in right away. If your landlord is as lazy as you say he is, he may just do a cursory check of the guy's references and let him move in the day after you move out, saving himself a lot of hassle of advertising the place and showing it and painting it and possibley having it empty for a month.

Put an ad up on Craigslist or a University bulletin board looking for someone who needs a place right away. Then introduce your new 'friend' to your landlord and let them both take it from there. If your landlord is one of those laid back types, he may go along with it. I've seen it done this way.

You could also sublet if there is no clause in your lease preventing you from doing this. But be wary, you are then responsible for any damage this person does and you may not get your security deposit back if this person does damage or you both could be jointly sued if this person does something like burn the place to the ground or cause water damage.

You said you already spoke to your landlord and he needed time to think about it. It sounds like he may be very reasonable, if you are with him. Why don't you try to speak to him again and resolve the issue. Tell him you need to know by a certain date as you have a new job offer in another city or something. Tell him that you are going to enlist. Tell him anything so that you can get an answer from him and not be left hanging while he mulls it over. It's OK to 'fudge' the facts a bit to help your case, but it is not OK to carry out your threat to damage his building and also skip out on rent owed.

Your landlord may not win the 'Landlord Of The Year' award but from what you have told us, he is not one of those LFH (landlord from hell) types. Don't make him suffer just because you are uncomfortable there. Karhma. Remember karhma.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 4:02AM
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I am in MA.
The LL fails to repair the sink(inadaquate and insufficient presser of hot water)
He also fails to replace the window screens that he promised to do so from the last september.
There are rats running around on the ceiling and I can hear them biting something every other times when i try to go to bed. The neighbors are play music or watching TV loud in the afternoon. I know it is afternoon, but every person has diffrent shifts and jobs. Hot water in the bathroom only last at most 15min. Whnever i try to contact with him, he hardly picks up the phone and never call me back. I sent a letter about it, but he called it "a stupid letter" and ignored it. I don't think I can handle with it in this place anymore, otherwise i will lose my life.

anyway thanks for your advise!!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 10:01AM
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Here is a site of MA eviction links to get you started:


Just do a Google search using 'tenant' and 'eviction' you will find tons of info to help you make the decision that is best for you.

If you have a rat problem that is as bad as you say, contact to Health Dept and the Building Inspector in your city right away. Show them the window screens when they come out to look. They may not make a trip out there to view the place as they get hundreds of call per day but they will send your landlord a letter notifying him of your formal complaint.

The landlord may correct the problems and/or he may retaliate out of misplaced anger.

Do NOT let yourself become evicted. You may be tied up in court and the eviction will haunt you when you apply for jobs and credit and new apartments. The landlord may even have the sheriff remove your stuff and put it into storage which you will have to pay for, to get it back.

If worse comes to worse, like the rats have babies and you are overrun with them, or your eardrums start to bleed from the loud music, you may have to just vacate the place and disappear. Leave a note on the door or call you landlord and tell him you have vacated so he can go in an re-rent the place as soon as possible.

He can still legally come after you for the rent left on the lease, but it may be too much bother for him to do so and he may never start court proceedings to collect. Also a judgment against a tenant does not neccessaily translate into dollars and landlords tend not to bother to try to get "blood from a stone".

From what you have shared about the apartment, I am asuming that this is not a $5000/mo apartment and you do not have a six figure income. I am also going to assume from what you have told us, that your landlord has experienced this sort of situation before and he is trying to wait it out and then intends to rent to the next 'new kid in town' without making any repairs.

All in all, between the two, it is far better to just be sued for money owed than to be evicted and then sued for the money owed.

If you vacate and wind up in court you may be able to prove you had just cause to leave, (rats/ no water) and the judge may rule in your favor. If you get evicted and are sued for the remaining rent the judge is not likly to side with you. Not at all.

Do not allow the situation to become an eviction for you!

It's a tough situation. I wish you luck and hope this turns out well for you.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 6:58PM
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Basically, it sounds like you chose the cheapest apartment possible. Surprise surprise, it is not the Taj Mahal. Instead of getting evicted and thus destroying your credit rating (making it unlikely you'll ever get a decent apartment, or borrow money for a car or house), take the initiative and try the following:

1) "The LL fails to repair the sink (inadaquate and insufficient presser of hot water)"

Some areas just have low water pressure, there is not much the landlord can do about it. If water pressure is fine other places in your apartment (like the bathtub or kitchen sink), you might have a corroded faucet. Call a handyman and change the faucet. Use some of that money you're saving on rent.

2) "He also fails to replace the window screens that he promised to do so from the last september."

It is winter, you don't need window screens. In the summer, for about $5 you can get the materials you need to fix them yourself (basically, nylon window mesh at home depot).

2) "There are rats running around on the ceiling and I can hear them biting something every other times when i try to go to bed."

Call an exterminator.

3) "The bigger part of it is that my neighbor in the next building play their music loud" and "The neighbors are play music or watching TV loud in the afternoon. I know it is afternoon, but every person has diffrent shifts and jobs."

A tenant in a different building is bothering you? How is this your landlord's problem? Call the cops.

4) "Hot water in the bathroom only last at most 15min."

Again, you aren't in the Taj Mahal, but perhaps try to keep your showers under 15 minutes (which is a long, long, long time to be taking a shower, by the way).

5) "Whnever i try to contact with him, he hardly picks up the phone and never call me back. I sent a letter about it, but he called it "a stupid letter" and ignored it."

You're being a pain, so he is ignoring you. That's not surprising.

6) "I don't think I can handle with it in this place anymore, otherwise i will lose my life."

Don't be so melodramatic. Living in a cheap apartment will not kill you.

Should you have to do this things yourself? No, and in a better building you would not, but in a better building the rent would be much higher. If in the end you decide you want more luxurious surroundings, and are willing to pay for them, the put ads on craigslist.org and find a subtenant. I'm sure the landlord will be happy to get rid of you.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 7:19PM
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Here is a good summary of what happens after an eviction:

"Dear Tenant,

As you know, your account is now or soon will be in "Eviction Status". Its possible that you may not know about or understand the ramifications of what it means to be the subject of an eviction proceeding. Below is a list of easy to understand consequences a person will face as a result of a legal eviction:

1. Eviction Court. This can be a humiliating experience and also matter of permanent public record.
2. Dispossession. You will be forcibly removed from the premises. This can be a humiliating experience and also matter of permanent public record.
3. Judgment (s). Your credit rating will be severely damaged. This may also result in
 A collection process until your debt is paid in full
 Possible seizure of assets you may own, including bank accounts
 Garnishment of wages
 Notification of credit bureaus causing inability to qualify for lines of credit, including credit cards, car loans and mortgages.
 Notification of National Tenant Reporting Services causing inability to qualify for rental housing (Most quality rentals require credit & tenant screening)"

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 7:24PM
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I agree with everything you have said Fred except the part about "call an exterminator". If he is living in an apartment building you cannot just treat one apartment for pests, You must treat the entire building and maybe even the surrounding areas. This could be mighty expensive.

On the other hand maybe there is something this tenent could do to keep the rats from prefering his apartment. You wouldn't believe how many times I've heard landlords tell me how a tenent complains about rat/roaches running all over their place, but when they go in, they see that the reason they are running all over is that there is GARBAGE all over.

You're right about tenents expecting the Taj Mhal for very little money. I've got a friend who has been whining for three years that their landlord won't come in to repaint. I finally said "Why don't you just spend 25 bucks on a couple cans of paint and a brush and just paint it yourself?" They looked at me with sad confused eyes. I guess they would rather spend their free time playing video games and moping about their situation than taking action.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 12:42AM
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I wanted to be charitable, but yes almost invariably if there is an infestation problem it is caused by the tenant. If there is no food available to little critters (ie garbage on the floor, empty pizza boxes, crumbs, unsealed food) they'll go elsewhere. The original poster referred to rats "on" the ceiling, she may have meant in the ceiling. It could be an exterminator might not be able to handle the problem because it is outside her apartment, but the point is when making a choice between 1) ruining your credit, 2) dying ("I don't think I can handle with it in this place anymore, otherwise i will lose my life"), or 3) taking the initiative to try to fix the problem, #3 is the best choice.

We once had a tenant who claimed there were rats in the walls. We opened the wall, found it was just a waste water pipe, the sound of water rushing down she mistook for rats late at night when everything was quiet. We insulated the pipe, problem solved. Water supply pipes that rattle a bit can sound odd as well, those can be insulated and attached more firmly to reduce the sound.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 10:16AM
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You've been given some really good suggestions and advice here. Just wanted to reiterate: do not let this end up as an eviction. If you think your life is bad now, an eviction will haunt you and you'll never truly be rid of this situation.

This is all manageable, you just have to follow the productive path rather than the destructive one.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 9:21AM
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A run-down apartment is not always the 'cheapest' apartment. And so what if it is? What if this is the most she can afford? Does this mean she deserves rats, a bad landlord, and ill treatment?

Because it's not winter, she doesn't need to worry on window screens needing replaced? What if they're tore and are a terrible eye sore? There are more reasons to worry on window screens than the winter. Here in Florida we don't really have winters much, so I guess it's OK if ours are never replaced by landlords :/

As for calling an exterminator, that's ludicrous. She shouldn't pay to keep his apartment and building up to health code requirements.

If she does live in a cheaper apartment, I don't see this as a loophole for the landlord to escape responsibility.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 8:40PM
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