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My lease starts in 2 weeks but i found roaches in the apartment. Can i break the lease and get my money?

Passaic, NJ |

I signed a one year lease which begins december 1. The super already gave me keys and while cleaning i found roaches. Im pregnant and i dont want to move in anymore. The landlord is refusing to return my deposit and the month rent i gave him. Is that legal?

Attorney Answers 3


Good Evening,

This is problem solvable a few different ways. The first step is determine what your lease (if you have one) says. Some leases contain "walk-through" clauses, which essentially state that you accept the space "as-is." If this is the case, the landlord will say you should have thoroughly inspected the premises before occupying. Whether this holds up in front of a judge is a much different story. Concealing a latent defect (like a roach infestation) could be a failure of consideration, which could free you of your obligation. It also raises the potential for some nasty other claims against the landlord.

Another avenue you may pursue is "occupying" but withholding rent until the landlord fixes the roach problem. This process can be lengthy.

You may also send notice to your landlord of the condition and advise him that if he doesn't treat the apartment you will do so at your own expense and deduct the cost from your second month rent.

All of your options turn on how bad the roach problem is. Unfortunately, finding one or two dead roaches in your apartment , while concerning, probably isn't enough to walk away.

Best of luck with your situation.

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2 lawyers agree




Thank you for the quick response. My landlord acknowledges that he concealed that roach problem. He says the reason for not returning the money is that the lease is signed. However we aren't due to move for another 2 weeks. Don't we have time to back out?

Thomas J Major

Thomas J Major


The landlord acknowledging that he concealed the roach problem is a serious problem for him. Try reasoning with him. Let him know that you understand that is serious matter and the best thing for everyone is to walk away. If he won't be reasonable, then it may be time to involve lawyers.


I agree with Mr. Major.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

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Concur with Attorney Major and would only add that in most states (NJ too), there is a process for withholding rent, demanding extermination of pests etc. If you don't follow the process in your state you MAY lose the privilege of recovering damages, rent already paid, and terminating the lease agreement and more. Make sure the steps you take after possession transfers to you on Dec 1st are IAW NJ statutes.

READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I give a 100% effort to get you on the right track with your issue. Sometimes that means legal educational information, sometimes that means counseling and non-legal guidance. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.

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