I have been living in some apartments in Richmond for almost a year and half now, and the whole time I have been plagued with noisy neighbors due to both the inconsideration of said neighbors and the poor quality of the construction of the building. Rather than suffer through more sleepless nights and increasing blood pressure I finally decided to move – with one problem: my lease wasn’t up yet. Meaning I would need to break my lease early.
For those who know anything about apartment living you know that breaking a lease can be a difficult thing to pull off. Your lease will no doubt state harsh penalties for breaking the lease early (from a few month’s rent to the remaining rent owed as part of your lease). While you can try and argue with your landlord, the fact of the matter is that they’ve got you by the balls.
My (successful) approach was to write a very official and business-like letter to my property manager explaining in a stern but non-threatening way my reasons for wanting out. As I couldn’t find one of these document templates on the web when I was writing mine I thought it might be useful to some of you out there to see what worked for me. (names have been excluded and some adjustments may be needed – MS Word and OpenOffice versions attached after the letter below)
Dear [property manager name],
I am writing you to inform you that we wish to terminate our lease early due to the ongoing dissatisfaction with the quality of life provided to us by the [apartment name] apartments. While we have always been pleased with the cooperation and understanding of you and the apartment management to our situation, the fact remains that the environment in our apartment is substandard, specifically with regard to the noises generated by neighboring units. Our complaints, and those of other tenants, of this prohibitive conduct as specified in section 20 of the Apartment Lease Contract have not changed the situation nor have they provided the “peace and quiet enjoyment” the [apartment name] is committed to providing (Section 11, Rules and Regulations).
It is our desire to be released from our lease without fault on [desired early lease termination date]. You can expect our full cooperation in showing the apartment during our remaining occupation to facilitate its immediate rental and prevent the [apartment name] from any financial losses. I hope that our immediate rental payment history and good-standing account sufficiently indicates our continued accountability and sincerity.
Again, we appreciate all the attempts that you have done as property manager to alleviate our dissatisfaction but have decided that it is in both parties’ best interests for us to vacate the unit. Please let us know the feasibility of our request and if we can do anything to make the process proceed smoothly and to your satisfaction. Also, please let us know if you would like us to speak directly with any other management parties about our request.
Thank you, again, for the consideration.
If your landlord doesn’t buy your attempt at the matter, I would think you have a few more options, all of escalating implications:
- Get a real estate lawyer to write a letter on your behalf (the letterhead alone may be worth more than the contents, so if you have an attorney friend it may be worth hitting them up for the favor)
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to try and resolve the situation. You may want to notify your property manager that this is a next step at some point – my guess is they won’t want this hassle and may be willing to cooperate.
- Slander the F* out of them on the internet. Do a search for apartment reviews and let others know your experiences. If you can’t get out of your situation, at least make sure others don’t suffer.