(WSVN) - Her excitement at moving into a rental apartment only lasted a few minutes, till she heard two people being shot. The next day, four more people were shot, and now she wants to break the lease because it’s too dangerous for her children. But can she break that lease? It’s why we bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
When people look for a new place to rent, they want different things.
Arteece wanted space.
Arteece Miller, too dangerous to stay: “Well, I just needed something bigger. I need a two-bedroom, for sure.”
When Arteece looked at Royal Oaks in Lauderhill, not only did it have the space, it had the other essentials for her two little children.
Arteece Miller: “A nice environment, like somewhere I can leave my kids and turn my eye away for a minute and know that they’re OK.”
Arteece then put down the $1,600 rent and security deposit. On a Friday around 6 p.m., she was given the keys and went to check out her new townhouse.
Turns out the environment wasn’t so nice.
Arteece Miller: “I heard like around four gunshots.”
After the commotion died down, Arteece opened the door to look outside.
Arteece Miller: “I see one person on the floor right in front of my door. I’ve never seen anybody get shot ever in my life.”
Two people were shot. The next day, four more people were shot in the same neighborhood.
Arteece had only opened the front door once, but she was ready to close the door on living in the neighborhood.
Arteece Miller: “I’m thinking I can’t stay here. I don’t feel safe for me or my kids.”
She went to the rental office to give back her keys and ask for her deposit and rent money back.
Arteece Miller: “They told me they can’t give me my money back. Once I sign the lease, I’m responsible for the property.”
With two little children, a murder before she moved in and no money to move on, Arteece broke down.
Arteece Miller: “I was crying. I was like, ‘I need the money so I can move me and my kids.'”
Well, Howard, if you don’t think your rental is safe, legally, can you break the lease and get your money back?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No, you cannot. Once you sign a lease, even if it is a high-crime area, even if someone gets shot at your front door, the law does not consider that legal grounds to terminate your lease. Sounds strange, but that’s the law.”
Instead of dealing with the property manager, we contacted the property owner.
Krishna Persaud was great. He told us, even though legally he didn’t have to have to return Arteece’s money, morally, he felt like he needed to do that.
He added, if what happened to Arteece happened to one of his family members, he would hope their landlord would allow them out of the lease and give them their money back, and that’s what he did for Arteece.
Howard Finkelstein “You don’t want this to happen, but legally, if you want out of your lease because it’s dangerous and are refused, and then you get shot, you will have a good lawsuit against your landlord because they were on notice it was dangerous and did not provide appropriate security for you.”
Arteece Miller: “I’m very glad I called Help Me Howard.”‘
Not only did the property owner return Arteece’s security deposit and rent money, he even returned her application fee, leaving a very lucky lady.
Arteece Miller: “If it wasn’t for Help Me Howard, I would still be at my old home, so I’m happy I was able to get all my money back and move into a home that’s safe for my kids.”
Thanks to a good landlord, and glad we could help out a little bit also.
Now, it goes without saying you need to check out a neighborhood before you move in. Maybe talk to your potential neighbors, or look at the statistics to see what types of crimes or criminals live in the area you are considering. Even if you already live there, you might find out some things about your neighborhood you didn’t know.
Feel what’s happening to you is a crime? Ready to move on from it? There’s no danger in asking for help, because there’s safety in getting information.
Crime Stats for Your Neighborhood
Sex Offenders In Your Neighborhood
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