What are a tenant’s rights against their landlord for allowing an unruly neighbor to reside on the premises?

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What are a tenant’s rights against their landlord for allowing an unruly neighbor to reside on the premises?

Renting basement unit for 15 years. Year ago new tenant moved in above me (loud music, parties, obnoxious person). Many nights we had to leave and come back later because of the noise. Myself as well as other tenants went to our landlady for help. She spoke with him many times about the noise complaints, but it was of little use. Police have been to his door several times because of noise, and there have been physical threats. I believe my unit is illegal. We are moving but want to take legal action against the landlady for the uncomfortable living conditions that we have put up with.

Asked on January 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may be able--if you were not moving--to force your landlord to take action against the unruly tenant. It's unclear how much compensation you could receive from having to put up with it. Every tenant has the right to "quiet enjoyment" of his or her premises, which means being able to use it w/out excessive disturbance. This right is enforceable not only against the landlord himself--i.e. the landlord can't keep disturbing you--but also against fellow tenants--in other words, the landlord must keep your fellow tenants in line. You can sue to make this happen if necesary.

In terms of compensation, though, the most you'd be entitled to is the equivalent of the difference in value between an apartment without the disturbance and one with disturbance--which might not be enough money to justify a lawsuit, as well as being difficult to show.

If the apartment was, you feel, illegal and you're moving out anyway, if you want some satisfaction, you could try reporting the landlord to buiding/housing authorities.


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