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Breaking lease 1 month early due to severe leak in roof unrepaired for 1 year.

Floral Park, NY |

I've written our apartment management a formal letter requesting that we terminate our lease one month early. For exactly one year as of this month, there has been a leak in our kitchen ceiling (we're on the 2nd floor) that has gotten worse. Maintenance simply painted over it, and have now left it in such a state that it drips constantly during rain and is spreading, causing the roof to bow and window to no longer shut securely. My wife is 24 weeks pregnant and the area is beginning to smell of mold. I've taken photos and a video of the leak in progress and included them with the letter. I've received no response from them as yet. Is this a lost cause, or under the circumstances would they grant our request? We've already found another property to rent.

Attorney Answers 1


Dear Floral Park Tenant:

New York landlords have tenants over a barrel when it comes to escaping the legal obligations of a lease even when the landlord breached the lease and failed to make repairs. All of that just provides a valid defense in a post vacating lawsuit if the landlord sues the tenant for the rent due to the landlord for the balance of the lease.

Instead, in NYC tenants are allowed the right to bring the landlord to the Housing Court and before a judge when the landlord fails to maintain the house or apartment and the landlord allows defective conditions to exist.

That is the HP Proceeding. A tenant starts off as you already did with notice to the landlord but you may follow up with a telephone complaint to 311 and then the lawsuit in Housing Court. You and you with a lawyer may very well use the HP Proceeding to settle the lease issues and allow for you and your family to move out without breaking the lease.

Read about the HP Proceeding at:

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.

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Thank you, that was a helpful reply. It gives me good direction and helps me prepare in case their response to our request doesn't favor our position.



I should clarify that we are in Nassau County outside NYC limits. How, if at all, might this change your response or our situation?

Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Warren Smollens


OK. Then you may consider hiring an attorney to help extract you from the lease.

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