Annie's Mailbox: Can I get out of my lease if my landlord lied to me?

Dear Annie: My family and I recently moved to a new subdivision, which includes several duplexes crowded together. We were told it was a quiet area, and when we checked it out, it seemed very pleasant. In fact, our lease states it has to stay quiet.

When we were choosing the place, I informed the landlord that I do not like dogs and cannot tolerate barking. He neglected to tell us that there are several dogs in the other duplexes and let us move in while withholding this information.

He refuses to tell the dog owners to put shock collars on their dogs or otherwise keep them quiet. I cannot even go to my mailbox without one of these dogs barking at me.

My question is, can we get out of our lease because the landlord lied?

This sort of thing has happened to us more than once.

Why do some landlords think they have to lie to get people to rent from them?

— Peeved in Columbia, Mo.

Dear Peeved: Every state is different, but in most instances, even if the lease says something about noise, it is not as inclusive as you may believe.

If the landlord actually told you that there are no dogs in the neighborhood, you may have grounds to ask a judge to let you out of the lease. But if the landlord made no specific mention of dogs, you are likely stuck.

However, please note that in order to get out of the lease, you will need to file a lawsuit. Decide what it’s worth to you.

Dear Annie: In your reply to “Frustrated Teen Mom in Omaha,” you failed to mention the option of adoption. It is hard enough to adopt a baby with so many young mothers keeping the child, so it is doubly important that adoption be mentioned as an alternative. Thank you.

— Minot, N.D.

Dear Minot: We recommended Planned Parenthood because counselors there will discuss all possibilities, including adoption, as well as provide prenatal care.

A few readers suggested an exclusively pro-life website, Community Pregnancy Centers (cpclink.com), which some of our readers may prefer.

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