What to do if my neighbor is recording my conversations and sending them to my landlord?

UPDATED: Nov 22, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Nov 22, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if my neighbor is recording my conversations and sending them to my landlord?

I live in a duplex and my neighbor is recording my conversations and sending them to my landlord. My landlord sent me a letter stating that I have violated my lease “quiet enjoyment” and must be corrected immediately. The units have no privacy between them, I can hear my neighbors as if they were living with me, but I don’t record or even try to listen to what they are saying. Can she record my conversation without my consent and do I have the right to break my lease and move?

Asked on November 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, MN is known as a "1 party consent" state. This means that as long as 1 party to the conversation consents to its recording it is legal. Secondly, I will assume that this recording is being done in your neighbor's apartment (i.e. they have not placed a recording device in your apartment).

According to the law, as long as 1 party to the conversation consents to recording it, then the recording is legal. However, here your neighbor is not a party to the communications; they are merely overhearing them. So on the face of it, it would appear that the recording is illegal.

That having been said there is an exception in the law for conversations in which there can be "no reasonable expectation of privacy". For example, if someone where to record a conversation in a restaurant or other public area. Now, having conversations in your home home would certainly be expected to be private. Yet since they are being held in manner so as to be heard in another unit, there is certainly an argument to be made that you no longer have an reasonable belief that they would be private. Accordingly, taping these conversations are legal. In other words, you may have in effect given up any privacy rights as to any communications that are so loud as to be overheard by others.

As to your tenancy, this does not give you a right to terminate your lease but it does give your landlord the right to terminate your lease based on your violating the "covenant of quiet enjoyment". That is the right of your neighbor to have and enjoy a quiet living premises. In fact, this gives them the right to terminate their lease if they so choose.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption