landlord issue/eviction threat

bluefoolsFebruary 3, 2007

Well, let me start by saying that my husband & I recently moved into my apartment back in August. It is a month to month lease. It is a 3 floor building - the landlords own the home and live on the top floor, we occupy the first floor, and we 'share' a basement (meaning we own washer/dryer down there and do our laundry - we don't store anything).

In August we had issues with them in regards to the smell of gas filling our apt. and their refusal to find a qualified person to do the proper repairs (they paid a brother to do some hatchet job repair). We were treated as if it was our fault the repairs had to be made. So, our relationship since hasn't been terrific.

Recently, our landlords decided to put a ping pong table in the basement. It is right below our bedroom, bathroom, and part of our hallway. Because of the venting in this old home, we can hear EVERYTHING in the basement - including the ping pong ball noise. It reverberates through the apartment and is loud. Normally they'll play on a Sun. night (7 pm-ish) and we just turn up some music to drown it out or we move to the front of the house where there still is screaming and shouting we hear, but it isn't as bad.

Last night, we were going to bed and we started to hear them play ping pong in the basement (it was 10:30 when it started). At 10:45 pm my husband went downstairs to ask them to keep it down (they were drinking with their friends and their kids were down there, too playing), as we could hear the talking, screaming, and music they were blaring down there. Come 11 pm, they were still down their making noise.

I turned on my fan and air filter to high to drown out the noise, but it didn't. In fact, it sounded louder. So, I got up and was looking for the local non-emergency number to inquire about a noise ordinance the city. I called the number, but at some point it was 'disconnected' and all called are re-routed to 911. So when I called I apologized profusely to the attendant at 911 and asked if there was a noise ordinance. He said 'no' and said if there was noise, he'd send a car. I said there was and he sent someone out.

At like 11:15 the noise moved from the basement to their apartment, where we couldn't hear it anymore. The police showed up right afterward. Needless to say, it didn't go well. After the police left, my husband was yelled at by our landlord who said they never had parties (which is true) and it was Friday night and it was only 10:30 at night. My husband said yes, but we were trying to sleep. My landlord said he didn't care and that he could evict us at anytime because this was HIS house. My husband said that we went down and asked politely and they had gotten noisier. My landlord again proceeded to say that it was his house and they could do what they wanted, including kick us out. He said we were rude and then stormed upstairs.

Needless to say, we were pretty upset with the whole thing. My husband actually wanted to apologize before my landlord started threatening eviction. We do have a clause for 'quiet enjoyment' and normally, it isn't so bad (yes, we hear them running, pounding, walking and such at all hours, but we tolerate that. And we have tolerated the ping pong at 7 pm).

I guess I don't know what to think. I'm sure they were embarrassed to have the police show up, and I feel badly, but I feel like as landlords, they should respect us, like we respect them. it's clear they don't. If they came to our apartment and asked us to keep it down, no questions asked, we would. But it sounds like they want the bet of both worlds - to collect our money and do whatever they want in 'their home.' it doesn't work that way.

HELP! Now what do we do? We like where we live and don't want to be evicted, but we don't want to live with this nonsense.

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The landlord most likely wouldn't evict you. Insted he would just not renew your month to month lease giving you till the end of March to get out. In fact based on your post he has no legal grounds to evict.

I'd look for another place asap. The landlord will not ask the tenants to be quiet, respect you, or ask them to move since its him. It does no good to complain. If you really like living there its your decision if you like living there with the noise, nonsense and bad relationship.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 10:31AM
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You're only going to increase your blood pressure and shorten your life trying to adjust to this situation. People take many years to become thoughtless jerks, and you're not going to reform them, no matter what you do. I know it's a pain to move, but this is not good and it's not going to get better.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 11:22PM
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Before you leave, report the gas leak to the GAS company ... they'll come out and inspect it all.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 4:02AM
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Thanks everyone :) I appreciate it!!!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 10:51AM
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I agree that it's best to move out when the lease is not renewed or when you have the opportunity to end the lease because you're not happy there. After having lived for 8 years in a 3-family owner-occupied house, I woulnd't do it again even though I was quite happy there. I wouldn't do it again partly for the reasons you bring up, but mostly because I don't like the feeling of being watched like I have in an owner-occupied house. I would rather live anonymously in a large building.

However, that said, I DO think that the owners have the right to once in awhile have a ping-pong party at 10:30 on a Friday night. this is totally reasonable. If it were 1 am or if it happened all the time, then I could see why you might complain. But where you are entitled to your enjoyment, so are they, within reason. And I believe they were within reason in this case.

I know that my downstairs neighbors in my 6-floor 50-unit bldg. can hear me when I do something out of the ordinary (and sometimes even when I am doing ordinary things). I know they probably knew I had a dinner party for 7 people last Monday night til midnight. However, this is the first dinner party I've had in an entire year of living here and if someone had called the police on me because they couldn't sleep over the clinking of our wine glasses, I would have been just as pissed off as your landlords.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 9:13PM
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This the reason I WOULD NEVER live in owner occupied premises. I like the anonymity of a large building. I pay my rent by check; the only time we had any personal interaction is when I interviewed for the apartment. I am just a voice on the phone and so are they. Wonderful no problems..Move if you can, it's not worth the hassles.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 8:45AM
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Agree with nfllifer. There are drawbacks of month to month for landlords, but one of the bonuses is it's an easy out. All they have to do is give you notice, anything from 'mom's moving in' to 'we want to use the space'. So eviction has probably not crossed their minds due to hassle, and as mentioned they really have no grounds at all. (Your lease should stipulate ample notice, however, say 30 days. I currently have one month>month, and I'll give 30 days.)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 5:31PM
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