• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Breaking a lease agreement due to landlord incompetence.

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.


Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Ohio

My girlfriend and I signed a year lease back in March, and moved in sometime in April, so we've got about six months left on it. We signed a pet addendum and handed it in with the lease, but at the time, nothing was said of a pet fee or pet rent, and they've accepted the rent we've paid them for the past six months. At the time, it seems they were in the process of replacing or relocating the guy running the leasing office (I guess he'd be the property manager?). We had a different property manager for three or four months after that guy, but then she was replaced as well.

Now, almost a month ago we received a notice from the *NEW* property manager, taped to our door, stating that as she's walked the property, she's noticed cats in our window, but that we do not have a pet addendum, nor have we paid pet rent. This is the link to what she wrote: http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/2276/scan0001.gif

Our reply is here: http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/8010/scan0002.gif
What we are referring to in the second paragraph is a situation that happened during our first month of living here, when we tried to find out exactly how much we owed, but couldn't get in contact with the property manager(s), due to them not being in the office at the posted times. What happened with this latest notice is that we tried to get to the leasing office on the first day it was open, but the hours had been ninja-changed that week from 9-5 or whatever they were before, to only 9-12. So we just sent this letter instead, as we could tell something was going on, and that we'd need some sort of documentation of it.

So long story short, rent is due in the next few days and we still haven't gotten a response, and the leasing office still has unpredictable hours. And I'm not entirely sure about the legality of nonrefundable deposits in Ohio, but I dunno. We were open to discussion about maybe trying to

Anyway, the point is that they're pretty incompetent. Either they're incompetent and lost their paperwork, or they're trying to scam some money out of us if we were gullible enough to pay the money straight up. And really, I don't know why they'd think we had the money they requested, because we had paid rent three days before. And their inability to respond to our latest letter has us confused about what we owe them. I was wondering if this, along with other evidence of their incompetence, namely:

1. Their inability to fix an improperly weather-sealed door that was reported in the inventory and condition form upon moving in, and was mentioned to both the first and second property manager, and which causes puddles to form on the kitchen floor whenever it rains, warping and raising the tiles.
2. Two times they stated that they would be inspecting buildings for water damage, and that we should expect them at 9 AM, and they never showed. This is mainly an issue because our schedules are shifted -- as in, we sleep during the day and stay up at night. We still go to work and everything responsibly, our schedules are just shifted. Of course when work demands we get up early, we change our schedules accordingly.
3. Roofing work started three to four days before the notice they sent out said it would. It was the loudest thing in the entire world, and we had not been able to plan our sleep schedule around the unannounced, premature work (my girlfriend worked in the afternoon). Not to mention that due to the premature work, we weren't given time to properly move our cars, so there were construction vehicles park halfway on the curb, halfway on the parking lot, tilted like this, along with debris everywhere around people's cars.
4. With no notice given, the front of our building was sprayed down with a pressure washer. We had our windows open and everything.
5. The poor record-keeping of the property managers, and the constant changing of them, which, it's pretty clear, are related.

...would be enough for us to move out and either reduce or eliminate the rest of what is stated under the lease agreement. Because we really doubt the ability of this place, especially with the fragile winter months coming up.


Senior Member
Show them your copy of the pet addendum you signed. If there is no pet fee or pet rent written into the lease, you don't have to pay one. Prepare to move at the end of your lease.


Senior Member
None of the items you mention constitute a habitability issue, and therefore none give you a good enough reason to break your lease.

As far as the pet addendum/pet rent issue, your lease as it is stands. Whatever it has or doesn't have constitutes the agreement in force regarding the pets. You said you signed a pet addendum? As long as you are able to produce a copy of the lease with that addendum, and it does not require any pet rent, pet fee, or pet deposit, the new LL cannot require you to pay one now. They cannot impose such a change in terms until the end of your current lease. (Sounds to me like this is one of the reasons the old manager got fired.)

As the last poster indicates, you should expect to remain where you are until the lease end unless you want to incur a penalty, and you can definitely expect either a non-renewal or a change in lease terms at upon expiration of the current lease.


The best way to always deals with a problem is in writing. This shows proof you have addressed or tired to address the problem with the proper people. Send them a certified letter return receipt requested to the management office (it has to have an address). Give them 5 -7 business days to respond and you want it in writing so you have your proof. You may want to put in letter if they do not respond in X days then you will assume the issue has been taken care of and no monies due.

Also check your lease about not renewing. Many leases says 30 or 60 days notice is to be given. All my leases state 60 days notice so it gives me time to market the unit. Plus my leases state I have the right to show the apartment with a posted 24 hr notice if tenant is not renewing the lease within 60 days from lease termination,

As for the company that pressure washed the building with your windows open. If you had damages you should file a claim against them. They should of realized open windows and avoided the unit.

As for repairs, also send letters to management asking for repairs to be done. Honestly in most states if the landlord fails to make timely repairs, especially if important ones (not replacing a lightbulb) you can withhold rent but it has to be done legally. You set up an escrow account with a escrow agent and pay the escrow agent the rent each month on time so if they sue, you can show rent is being held for landlord once repairs are made. If I am correct if the landlord was to sue over this, it gets moved into a court account I think it is called and again you pay that account the monthly rent.

just remember writing is the best. There is no hear say that way.

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential