What are your rights when trying to break a lease?
Through the years we've heard from numerous victims of crime, who didn't know where to turn. Recently, burglars broke into the home of one local man, who doesn't feel secure in his own home now. Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Through the years we've heard from numerous victims of crime, who didn't know where to turn. Recently, burglars broke into the home of one local man, who doesn't feel secure in his own home now. So he reached out to Contact 13, to learn his rights. Action News anchor Tricia Kean reports.
"At the slightest sound now, I have to get up. I have to check. I just worry," says Andrew Leavitt.
He says he's had a lot of sleepless nights since someone broke into his home. It was back in September when the Las Vegas native and his girlfriend moved into their apartment on Nellis and Desert Inn. And Andrew says things were going well, until last month.
"We were out celebrating my girlfriend's birthday. We came home just before 11:00. I looked up and I saw the lights on," says Andrew.
He says no one was inside, but someone had kicked-in the door, and ransacked the apartment. A police report shows the long list of things that were taken. Andrew says it didn't take long for him to decide, he wants to move.
"I'm just scared and I want out. I just don't want to deal with this," says Andrew.
Only problem is, he signed a lease for the apartment, through December 2, 2013. He says he's tried talking to his apartment complex, but they aren't willing to let him out of the agreement. So Andrew emailed contact 13, and we turned to Action News Legal Analyst Al Lasso.
"There's not a lot of options. Because what is concerning for the state and government is, is the landlord following all the health and safety codes," says Al.
He says as long as the apartment complex is meeting its legal obligations, then Andrew is expected to meet his. And according to the lease, if Andrew wants to move out early, then he must pay a cancellation fee of $599, plus he'll have to give up his $500 security deposit. But Andrew argues, he's no longer safe in his own home.
"They took my security. And the security is you know, it's home. I can go to sleep. I don't have to worry about anything," says Andrew.
Al says Andrew could take legal steps, but the burden of proof is on him. He would have to prove the complex failed to reasonably protect his safety.
"But if it's a random break in, how does anyone prevent that and how does anyone stop that," says Al.
Andrew says he feels he's not being treated fairly.
"Where's the human compassion when it comes to, what if this was you? What if this was your apartment," says Andrew.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line. A lease is a contract. So before signing on the dotted line, do your homework and make sure you understand it completely, including what's expected if you try breaking the lease.
We did reach out to Andrew's complex. They tell us they're willing to waive any termination fee, and let Andrew move to another apartment on the same property. But Andrew says he hasn't decided what he's going to do.
If you feel like your not getting the help you need, remember, we've got your back Las Vegas. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll see what we can do to help. For Contact 13, I'm Tricia Kean.