Can our landlord terminate our lease because our neighbor is complaining about noise from our apartment?

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Can our landlord terminate our lease because our neighbor is complaining about noise from our apartment?

We have no idea what the noise is as we do not have guests or parties. We thought it was one of our feet tapping when we are on the computer, however, since she called the cops we have been mindful of our feet. Its basically her word against ours and it looks like we’re the ones getting the short stick. This does not seem a just way to be evicted.

Asked on January 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There are two different issues here:

1) Can the landlord evict you for violating other tenants' right to quiet enjoyment or disturbing their peace? Yes; the landlord needs to provide notice of the disturbance and an opportunity for you to "cure," or correct the problem, but it is possible to be evicted for this.

2) Can you be evicted when it's "her word against [y]ours"--it depends on whether, if the landlord goes ahead with an eviction action, he can prove that you caused the disturbance. The landlord, as the plaintiff (the party bringing the action), has the burden of proving that you did the things complained of, and can present testimony to that effect (e.g. of the complaining neighbor). You, in turn, can present testimony (both of yourself and possibly of other neighbors) that you are not making noise, and/or attack the testimony against you (such as by showing that this neighbor has a vendetta against you; has a history of making baseless complaints; etc.). Whomever is more credible will prevail, though if everything is even, the advantage lie with you, since you don't have to prove anything--while the landlord must prove his case by a "preponderance of the evidence" (or that it is more likely than not that you are causing problems).


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