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Can I get out of my lease?

Asked by user in Utah.

My landlord is also the upstairs tenant. He had some contractors start some very loud remodeling work in the home and within a few hours the landlord was gone and an extremely strong smell began to fill our unit. My children were all experiencing headaches from the fumes and noise. I need to know whether I can get out of my lease at this point.

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

Utah law requires landlords to provide tenants with “habitable housing.” When your apartment is not fit for habitation (e.g., the conditions violate local housing codes), you are “constructively evicted” and can lawfully break your lease. Constructive eviction is a common result when an apartment has a serious problem such as:

  • No running water
  • Flooding
  • No working furnace
  • Serious infestation

In extreme cases, you may be able to break your lease due to loud noises or unsafe odors. Regardless, before breaking your lease, the law requires you to follow certain procedures, including giving your landlord 24 hours to start fixing the problem.

I would recommend providing your landlord with written notice of the issues (send the notice via certified mail with return receipt requested so you have proof your landlord received the notice). If your landlord does not remedy the issues, I would recommend meeting with a landlord-tenant attorney in your area. If you think you qualify for free legal assistance, consider reaching out to the Utah State Bar Pro Bono Commission.

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