Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Louisiana

problem tenant

I have a question and need a little advice. I have a neighbor that has caused nothing but problems for my husband and i since he moved in in November 2001. The neighbor is homosexual and has AIDS also has obvious problems with crack cocaine and prescription nerve drugs. since he moved in we had the police at our house 3 times 1) for starting a vocal fight using obscene lang. etc.. 2) we beleive that he put sugar in our gas tank a month later from the first incident 3) last night he broke into his own house at 330 am scaring us from sleep. My question is what can i try to do about this? Landlord refuses to evict him .

Asked on 4/04/02, 10:47 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Richard Lemmler, Jr. R.P. Lemmler, Jr., Attorney At Law

Re: problem tenant

The way I see it, based on the facts you indicated, you have about 3 choices:

1) You can continue to live there and do nothing about it, hoping your neighbor will move, get evicted or die of drug overdose and/or his AIDS. This is the "do nothing" choice and may never really help you;

2) You can give your landlord written notice that you are fearful for your safety and property--especially in light of the police visits--and, as a result, you are terminating your lease (if you have one at all) and are moving out. This obviously requires you to actually move if the landlord does nothing to try to keep you there (i.e., doesn't care if you go). Without knowing if you have a written lease and, if so, what that lease actually says, I cannot tell you whether or not you will be forfeiting a deposit or remain responsible for rents for the remainder of the lease's term--read your lease carefully and take it to a lawyer for review if you're not certain of its terms;

3) Your third choice is to drown your landlord in "paper"---i.e., send a certified letter, return receipt requested, to the landlord NOW, detailing everything that has happened so far and indicating that you are feareful for your safety and property because of the neighbor, etc. Each time that something else happens or problems occur--especially if the police come back out--send the landlord another certified letter, return receipt requested, to document that problem, repeating that you are fearful for your safety and property. One or more things will happen after that: the landlord may decide that YOU are a pain in the neck and seek to have you evicted; the landlord may decide that you are a better tenant than the neighbor and have him evicted to avoid losing you and being aggravated further by you and your letters; the landlord will do nothing. If the landlord still does nothing, you will always have evidence (copies of the letters and the signed returned receipts) to show that your landlord was doing nothing to help/protect you should anything more serious occur. You should also have that evidence to aid you in breaking your lease should you decide later that leaving is easier/better than fighting the neighbor and landlord any further.

All of these choices have potentially serious consequences to your normal operating mode--only you can decide what is best for you. The previous comments are NOT to be considered as legal advice; they are simply general observations of your fact situation as related in your original submission. I strongly suggest that you pay a lawyer a consultation fee to review ALL of your facts and circumstances, ask more detailed questions of you, review any/all documents you have (like a lease) and THEN give you legal advice, customized to your situation. My comments are meant only to give you room for thought and possible issues to consider when speaking to your lawyer in a consultation.

Good luck.

Richard P. Lemmler, Jr.

Attorney At Law

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Answered on 4/04/02, 1:15 pm

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