Violent annoying neighbors

jjh85July 6, 2005

Me and my girlfriend recently moved into an apartment. we moved in to the top floor thinking it would be alittle more quiet. We've been here two months now and have allready had to call the police atleast 5 times due to people in our building and around our building getting into actual physical fights. Just tonight there was a brawl outside at 1:30 in the morning consisting of 15-25 people. Unfourtantely our neighbor directly next to us is always some how involved. I have considered trying to find a way to get out of my lease early without having to pay the almost $2000.00 early termination fee. Anyone out there think I have a case here? I mean i just cant take a whole year of being awoke at 1:30am because of a fight and having my girlfriend fearing for her safety when i'm not around. Anyone have any advice??

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You probably have a case ... if you have been notifying the landlord of the problems. Do not just move out - there are legal ways to bail out.

1. Get a copy of your state (and maybe city) laws about residential landlord and tenant stuff. READ THEM! Make sure you do ALL the notifications correctly, by the correct method, with the correct timing. (that's what kills tenants in small claims court - they just stop paying rent, or bug out - when they actually have a valid complaint). See what the landlord's responsibilities are about keeping tenants under control ... and under what circumstances tenants can be evicted for brawling and out of control "guests".

2. See what the laws say about reasons for breaking a lease. The landlord is usually responsible for "quiet enjoyment", and failure to evict a tenant that is habitually involved in brawls might qualify as failing to provide you with what he promised.

3. Get copies of the police reports (ask the cops) for all these brawls ... if the next door neighbor is involved, etc. Go back to a year or so before you moved in, to see if it's a long-standing pattern. Ask for all calls to the apartment's address.

4. Notify the landlord of all the brawls and calls, in detail with times etc. - in writing, certified, return reciept requested, with a copy kept for your records - that you are not getting the "quiet enjoyment:" or whatever you thought you would get.
4.a Let him know that you fear for your safety.
4.b Let him know that failure to deal with the situation by getting rid of the brawling tenant within the legally stipulated interval will be taken as the landlord's choosing to break the lease by failure to provide the "quiet enjoyment" (or whatever you find in the laws that is applicable.) And that you will be LEGALLY leaving on DD/MM/YY as a result of his breaking the lease.

If you do it calmly, in writing, and can back up the claims with police reports (tape the noise a time or two, too) ... your chances are good that a justice court judge will back you - forcing you to live in unsafe circumstances is not what laws are for.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 9:19AM
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garden's totally on the ball with this one...

you have legal recourse, and it's a lOT cheaper to jump through a few hoops for the bureaucrats than it is to face charges brought against YOU, eh?

in the meantime, while you're taking notes and gathering documentation... adopt the buddy system for your girlfriend, keep the apartment door locked, and check what the legal parameters for pepper spray is in your town- it won't stop a determined psycho, but it will knock most drunken nimrods on their mewling ass...

and have a talk with your girlfriend about what is an is not reason to panic- you are in as much danger as she is,from the sound of it- more of a 'caught up in it' danger than a 'targetting' danger...

but it's still scary if you're not used to it.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 11:24AM
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well it happened again later that night everyone. as soon as i went to bed i heard a very loud BANG BANG BANG on my neighbors door. This was around 3:30 mind you, and then i hear someone doing burnouts in the parking lot and two women screaming and yelling and two guys screaming and yelling and swinging at eachother and so i proceeded to call officer friendly again and of course they got here after the main culprits took off because they heard the sirens blasting. But thankfully since it was the 4th time the cops had been called out here last night the police officers were pissed and were able to catch the guy in my building sitting outside all drunk up and cracked out. So the officers made it clear if they had to return to this place again last night they were making some arrests and they didnt care if he was involved or not, (since he convientely had been around all 4 occurances last night but told police he was simply "breaking things up") So thankfully i was able to fall asleep around ohhhh 4:45am or so.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 1:42PM
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Another way to document what is going on, is to call the landlord (or the main office) every time something is happening. Call back to let them know that the police have been notified. Call back to let them know that x hours have passed and it's still happening. Even hold the phone to the window and let him/her hear what's going on outside if there is a fight.

Your situation sounds very severe and dangerous, unlike most of us who are just pissed about noise at annoying times. All of the calls to the landlord will be an indication of the persistance of the problem. It may also enlighten and annoy the landlord enough that they might take steps to do something about the crazy neighbor.

You might also consider giving the landlord's contact info to the police (if you have to call again), saying that the landlord wanted to be contacted if there were any disturbances from his/building.

(I have been kept awake late nights on many thurs-sat, but it has usually been from a neighboring building and not my own, so all I could do was call the cops when 60 underage drinkers were spilling out into the street at 3am.)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 9:22PM
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