Tenant Can Break The Lease After Gang Shooting

Question: My wife and I live with our two-year-old son in a Phoenix apartment complex. Last week in our apartment complex there was a gang fight with several shots fired. We were terrified, especially about the possibility of additional gang shootings. We notified the property manager and moved out immediately, and we have been staying with my wife’s sister until we can find another apartment. We just received an email from our former landlord’s attorney stating that we had no right to move out of the apartment, and that we will owe rent until the landlord can find another tenant. Do we have to pay any more rent?

Answer: You had a right to terminate the lease with five days’  notice and move out of your apartment because you had a reasonable belief of imminent danger to the health and safety of you and your family. A.R.S. § 33-1361. Therefore, you should not have to pay more than five days’ rent.

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