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Can I take my neighbors to court? - Landlord Forum thread 261797

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Can I take my neighbors to court? by Anonymous on July 22, 2012 @11:17

My new upstairs neighbors moved in June 1st of this year and since day one they have been nothing but complete noise! I decided to give it a week as I figured I could chalk it up to them creating noise from just moving in. However, after a week it kept up and continued on like that for following almost two months.

I complained to the neighbor on the 14th of June and found out I wasn't the only tenant in the building to complain. She said she would give the upstairs neighbors a notice to leave. This was also when I found out that the landlord was lied to and told that instead of it just being a girl up there it's a girl, her toddler daughter, and her boyfriend. Along with 2 cats and a puppy. This is all of that in a 250 sq. foot apartment.

Unfortunately, my upstairs neighbor (the girl) was able to lie to my landlord (an 87 year old woman) and my landlord allowed her to stay.

A couple weeks following that I had visited my landlord to pay the rent and told her the noise was still going on as was the littering of cig butts. This is a house made into apartments. There are four of us renters. I do not have children but the other 2 renters do and do not need to have to worry about the cig littering going on. After speaking to my landlord she agreed once more to evict these people. But once more the neighbor was able to lie her way out of it stating the noise I was hearing was coming from my neighbor in front of the house. I share no walls with that neighbor and the apartment above me was vacant before these people moved in, and during that time I heard absolutely no noise. But if I did it wasn't anything like I am hearing above my head!

I finally complained a third time in which the landlord took final action and promised she wouldn't pull back on. From what I under stand that was on July 5th and so far is still proceeding to evict them based on a conversation I had with her this past monday after their hot water heater blew sending Niagara falls into my living space.

Despite her being told she must leave the noise continues. I now call is revenge noise. Even though all of the other tenants have left complaints about them I am the one directly below them. I, also, understand kids will be kids and make noise. That's fine but now I have to hear a kid jumping up and down continuously also on top of bouncing a ball on the floor and ceiling. The adults also make their own noises as well from doing the same such as jumping up and down or purposely walking harder than they were before. The amount of noise shakes my apartment and has caused photos to fall from my walls.

I have spoken to a few people about this and some have said I should have some rights despite the fact that the landlord is now actively taking care of it. I did some research and think I found out that I can take my neighbors to small claims court and sue them for interfering with my right to quiet enjoyment or being able to "live" in my apartment. From what I read which was on a NOLO site it stated I could sue for my months rent or up to $100 a day depending on the limit my court allows. I figured I would sue for the past 2 months rent equally about $700.

I'm just not sure if anyone else is aware if I can do this. This nolo site seemed kind of general not really specific to Pennsylvania.

I didn't want it to come to this as I have given them chances. The other night I actually spoke to the girl in person and she was nice and said she was sorry and understood.I made the mistake of telling her I work in the evening and sleep during the day since the next day they were all jumping up and down and making as much noise as they could.

And then this morning was the last straw for me to deal with it. Her boyfriend and her were fighting. The floors and walls are thin so I could hear it all. It sounded physical so I was already thinking about phoning the police. However, it wasn't until I heard the girl upstairs scream "stop" and then sob hard that I decided to call the police.

The police eventually showed up and the girl lied her way out of it, like she lied her way out of being evicted previously with the landlord. She stated her daughter was getting into the cat litter so she screamed "Stop"; however, this was nothing like a scream to stop a child from getting into something. While it was all going on I felt empathy for the girl. As she had told the LL she was getting out of a rough relationship which was why she needed the apartment. But she only allowed that relationship to move into that apartment with her and then lied to the police. While her little daughter was a witness to it all. Any empathy I had just went out the window.

And now I want to know if I can take her to court. Because the noise is unbearable. I haven't slept really since they moved in. I dread coming home to deal with hit, but fear if I am away from my home that they may break in. (The boyfriend broke into her apartment during one of their other fights) And now that they are aware I complained to the LL about them, and are more than likely aware I was the one who sent the cops to their house I fear for my safety.

I know phoning the police is my own fault but I grew up with a Mom who choose bad men over me. Would have to witness the abuse and was always angered when no one would step in. So I stepped in for this little girl. I guess I just wasn't expecting this girl to lie to the police.

Anyway, I apologize for the length. I am tired and wearing beyond thin. I just want to know if this is possible for me to do. I, honestly, don't expect to ever receive any money should I win. As it seems like these two don't work ever. But, I think that maybe, this would prevent her from doing this to another neighbor she'll have in the future and maybe make her think about what she's doing to her daughter.
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Re: Can I take my neighbors to court? by Jake on July 22, 2012 @12:19 [ Reply ]
You are already doing the right thing already. Start calling the police every time there is violent activity. After three calls, the police in some cities start putting pressure on the landlord. The number of occupants violates the housing codes. Find someone at city hall to report it to. Then call Child Protective Services. Tell them how many people are in the 250 sq ft unit and explain that there is an increasing level of violence in the unit.
Re: Can I take my neighbors to court? by Rena (California) on July 22, 2012 @12:35 [ Reply ]
Do you have any proof of their noise making? Videos? Anything? How are you going to proof your case in a court? If your neighbour is such a good liar, she'll lie her way out of the court too.
Besides, you getting too personal with them - feeling empathy and such. You should keep your distance physically and emotianally and deal with this problem through the LL. I think, your LL hesitates to evict them because they pay their rent on time. Try to threaten your LL, that you will move, if she does nothing to remedy this situation. If she's scared to loose good tenant like you, may be she'll evict them?
Re: Can I take my neighbors to court? by Betty L on July 22, 2012 @12:40 [ Reply ]

Tenants who have suffered excessive noise from neighbors can file a formal police complaint with their local police department. Under Pennsylvania law, disturbing the peace consists of excessive noise, failure by pet owners to control barking dogs, fighting or the use of profanity within earshot of the public if it can be shown the act is malicious and willful in its intent. Pennsylvania law mandates that disturbing the peace is punishable by up to one year in jail in addition to mandatory fines as determined by the court.

You can also document your complaint in writing to the landlord and withhold rent if the landlord fails to remedy the problem. But do follow up with a complaint with the police. That way it shows you are serious about the problem.
Re: Can I take my neighbors to court? by will (oh) on July 22, 2012 @13:29 [ Reply ]
Are you current with your rent? If you are not current, and noisemaker is, guess whose side the LL is going to take?

I would vote with my feet here. I don't see this situation improving, and I don't see the benefit in getting involved in their business. I don't think you are going to change these people. I've seen tenants like this. Situations like this are why good LLs screen.

If your LL suddenly starts getting a bunch of notices from the previous tenants that they (you included) are leaving, she might get a wake up call. But I wouldn't hold out for that.

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