My daughter is in a bad situation and I need advice.

She recently moved into a new apartment near school. There were a lot of problems, she doesn't feel safe, and wants to move out. But her lease agreement says the lease cannot be broken for any reason.

When she visited prior to signing the lease, the "front end" of the complex (clubhouse, pool, model unit, etc.) looked great. The reality of her actual building and apartment is very different.

The issues:

Apartment was filthy on move-in: dirt on floors, counters, stove, bathrooms, and ceiling fans. Carpet was not vacuumed and they found a clipped toenail. Hair in sink and cabinets. Just disgusting.

Apartment said "Internet included - just plug in an Ethernet cable and you're ready to go". But it turned out there was a problem with the modem, and it took them almost 2 days to resolve it (during which my daughter struggled because she had to register for classes online and couldn't do so from the apartment).

There's garbage all around the exterior of the building.

Bathroom exhaust fan is broken. Door to patio sticks. Exterior closet is locked and key doesn't work. Ice maker doesn't work (in brand new fridge). Smoke detector had no battery. Mini blinds broken.

She had to go to the property management office multiple times, standing in line for up to 45 minutes, trying to get the problems fixed. She was repeatedly told they'd be resolved quickly, but then nothing happened. The first cleaning crew did clean the floors and kitchen, but another crew had to be called in to do the bathrooms. All while my daughter was trying to move in, get settled, and take care of school / orientation stuff.

The complex she's in is 95% student housing (but privately owned, not affiliated with any school). All new students moving in (~400) had the same move-in day. Apartment management was clearly not ready, nor were all the units ready. Many other new tenants had complaints as well (furnished apartments had no furnishings, AC wasn't working, dirty apartments, etc.)

Between the condition of the apartment and building, and the generally awful response by management, plus the overall "type" of other residents (young, loud, inconsiderate students), my daughter is extremely unhappy there.

I have not read through the lease agreement, and I'm not familiar with any "tenant protection" laws that might apply (she's in Florida). But I'm wondering if the collective wisdom of Quora might have some suggestions on how she can get out of her lease. Any way to do this? TIA.

  • 3
    It will depend on local laws. However, many jurisdictions have laws protecting tenants who break a lease if the property doesn't meet minimum health and safety standards. Most of the things you mention don't fall into that category, but for instance non-functional smoke detectors could be a red flag. Your best bet might be to see if you can find someone else to take over the lease; the company might let her leave if someone takes her place.
    – BrenBarn
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 16:17
  • 3
    We're not Quora. Just sayin'. Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 21:11

2 Answers 2


I'd look carefully at the issues and see if any would suggest calling the local board of health. They are pretty good about finding problems and making trouble for a landlord. Depending on the issues, the BOH might advise withholding rent until all issues are resolved and the landlord may be happy to move on at that point.


As @brenbarn didn't quite say, none of these problems amounts to a breach of the implied warranty of habitability (okay, filth and crud could be, but they've been fixed). They're just a big pain, but they were obvious on a reasonable inspection before signing, so aren't grounds for breaking the lease.

Assuming there's nothing in the lease or in local law that allows leaving early, a tenant who leaves early is still responsible for paying rent until the lease ends. However, the landlord in that situation has to make a reasonable effort to mitigate damages, i.e., to find another suitable tenant for the remainder of the lease term. The original tenant remains responsible, under the original lease, for all losses the landlord suffers because of the breach; that includes rent during the time it takes to find a new tenant, any expenses involved in finding a new tenant, and any shortfall in the event that the landlord isn't able to rent the place for the amount agreed to in the lease.

The best solution is for her to find someone suitable to take over the lease, tell the landlord that she's leaving, and tell the landlord that she's found someone to take her place.

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