Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

My tenant wants to break lease because he says that there were gun shots that took place on the street that the house backs up. The house is in a gated community, and the shots took place outside of the gate. Does he have a ground to break lease? Can we have him be responsible for the rent until we replace with new tenant?

Asked on 9/14/15, 1:12 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

No that is not legal grounds to break a lease. Yes, if they break the lease you can hold them liable for lost rent until a new tenant moves in, provided you take "all commercially reasonable steps" to find a new tenant as quickly as you can once they vacate.

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Answered on 9/14/15, 1:15 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

I'd say Mr. McCormick is probably correct. There are some cases where tenants have been allowed to bail on their leases because of neighborhood crime and other dangers, but most of these seem to involve either real danger and/or landlord concealment of the dangers during negotiation of the lease.

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Answered on 9/14/15, 1:24 pm

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