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Ask Curbed: If My Neighbors Are Gunned Down, Can I Break My Lease?

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A tenant with some unruly neighbors (to put it mildly) wants to break her lease. Can she move out if someone has been gunned down by her back door? "I have a question to submit regarding a unique situation with an apartment lease in Santa Monica. I live directly above a family that has a rent-controlled unit. Their two grown children still live there and are consistently in trouble with the police. Since I’ve lived there (9 months) the police have had to come to the apt in the middle of the night/wee hours of the morning four times: first for a screaming, drunken tantrum/fight at 3a; second to serve a warrant for one of them for assault with a deadly weapon (police had to bust down the door because they wouldn’t let them in); third for a boyfriend breaking their window to come in after them and retrieve allegedly stolen property; and finally last week because the tenants were gunned down on my back doorstep. I have repeatedly asked the management company to evict them for five months (and also predicted an eventual shooting) with no action. I am now going to move out and break my lease which has two months left. Do I have a legal right to break my lease without penalty?" Her calls to her landlord to settle the situation amicably have gone unanswered. [Image via NYC-Architecture]
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