Neighbors illegally subletting: should I rat them out?

Christine1960March 26, 2012

My husband and I have lived in our apartments which is part of a large complex, for about nine months now. Our neighbors across the hall, a couple with two young children and a third on the way, started moving out this weekend. Nice enough people, but the fact that their kids screamed all day and into the evening made us glad to see them going.

Anyway, they hadn't finished moving all their stuff out yet, when a bunch of people came along with another truck and started moving stuff in! I'm not sure what the deal is, except that they have to be subletting from the people who are leaving. This is clearly illegal under the leases here. In order to live here, you must fill out the application and undergo a background and credit check, as we did.

Now, I don't want to stir up problems, and I actually would be willing to look the other way at all of this. But there are two problems. The first and foremost one is that I saw one of the women in the group of new people walk right into the apartment with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. This is a non-smoking building, and my husband is allergic to cigarette smoke. Also, I'm planning a garden for the patio, and I know that the smoke can cause disease in plants. The other problem is that they are very noisy. Not at night so far, but today they blasted the stereo so loud that I could still hear it halfway down the hall when I went to get the mail.

Since I know nothing about these people, and neither does management, I hesitate to knock on their door to say something, for fear of retaliation. They seem kind of immature, from what I have observed of them so far and I'm afraid they might trash our patio (we are on the ground floor) or even our car if we complain.

Should we take this directly to management? Would a management office normally tell people like this exactly WHO complained about them? Should we stick an anonymous note in the rent payment slot (separate from any rent check, of course), and see what happens?

I have been keeping my eyes and ears open and am documenting everything I see that is annoying or illegal (the very loud music and the presence of lit cigarettes within 25 feet of the building; people have to stand at least that far away if they wish to smoke; it's official written policy). We're taking a wait and see attitude now, as they've only been here for two days. But what is the best way to go about complaining with the least chance of retaliation? Thanks in advance!

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How do you know this isn't a legal sub-let? Just curious, as it is possible that the new tenants have signed a lease, if the old tenants went through proper channels.

If you are concerned that Management will give your name if you complain, ask them what their confidentiality policy is.

But in your position, I wouldn't address the subletting issue at all. Let Management deal with that, if they discover it.

I'd deal with the noise and the smoking. Just a quick call to Management--let them know that the terms of the lease regarding smoking are being violated. If there is an illegal sub-let going on, trust Management to figure that out. Same with the noise.

If this building is non-smoking, Management will need to do something about the smoke, or have all their other tenants up in arms about the issue.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 9:04AM
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Cigarette smoke can cause diseases in plants? I've never heard of that.

Given the number of public places that smoking is prohibited these days, it does seem odd that the woman would walk into a building with a light cigarette.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 10:14PM
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Does your mgmt enforce the smoking rules w/current tenants? Are they proactive about noise complaints?

If so, I'd write an anonymous letter to mgmt. and mail it from your local post office, sign as A Concerned Tenant. Wait a week or so then start complaining about the smoking & noise to mgmt w/o mentioning they're the subletters. Just call them the new neighbors in 4B or something. Be polite, firm & keep notes as you've been doing. If it's a nice complex & you're paying a decent rent it's your right to complain. That said, I'm sure you know some folks just suck as apt. neighbors....

Mgmt. may guess it's you who complained, but if they're going to be bad neighbors, hopefully others will complain too & force mgmt to boot them. Imagine the people living below them if they're too noisy. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 11:28AM
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