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Real Estate Law (esp. Landlord-Tenant)/Am I obligated to live in a dangerous environment?

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I moved into an apartment here in Texas back on March 15th of this year. Since then, my car has been broken into and robbed (about $2,700 in damages and stolen goods), my laundry has been stolen out of the community dryer (I'm in the military, and at the time, all my laundry in the dryer was military uniform. Another $317 to replace those) and just recently, my car was keyed really badly (an estimated $580 to repaint the entire driver side of my car). All of these incidents have occured at my apartment complex in less than 3 months of each other. I understand that not everyone supports what the military stands for (or there could be another motive behind these crimes) but at this point, I feel like I'm being targeted and my safety is at risk. I've expressed these concerns with my landlord and asked to break my lease so I can move out of this area, but she insists that the apartment complex is not responsible for any of these crimes (which, I realize they're not) but at the same time, the crimes do not affect the terms of my lease. I don't feel like I should be forced to live in an environment that's begining to endanger myself and my job (I've missed a few days of work now dealing with police reports, insurance claims, and replacing/repairing damaged and stolen property). To what point do I have to continue putting up with these things before I can say, "enough is enough," and legally break my lease? Is there even a breaking point in my case, or has my apartment complex legally bound me into another 8 months of vandalism and targeted crime against me? Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope to receive an answer from you soon.

Answer
Hi Chris,

I would recommend that you research TX law here: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/PR/htm/PR.92.htm

You may also want to contact a local Texas attorney. Generally, the apartment complex is obligated to provide a habitable and safe environment for its residents. But it is not obligated to make sure everyone in the neighborhood behaves. If the incidents are incurring on the property itself (for example, in a parking garage or in a common laundry room), you should clearly document and notify the landlord, in writing, each time something happens. If something happens several times, then I think you would have a better argument to break the lease if you can show that you notified the landlord, in writing, several times, and they did nothing to fix the problem.

Thanks for your question.

David Piotrowski
Attorney at Law
http://www.AttorneyDavid.com

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Real Estate Law (esp. Landlord-Tenant)

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David Piotrowski, Esq.

Expertise

My landlord/tenant practice primarily assists California landlords with all aspects of the landlord/tenant relationship including leases, contract violations, non-payment of rent, and evictions. I can also advise, on a more general level, other real property issues.

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Please visit http://www.AttorneyDavid.com or http://www.facebook.com/david.piotrowski.attorney for more information on my practice.

Education/Credentials
Juris Doctor (JD) and Member of the State Bar. Attorney.

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